Around this time of year, Israeli flags cover every corner of the country in preparation for Yom Ha'Atzmaut. But, before we can celebrate independence, Israel commemorates Yom HaShoa and Yom HaZikaron.
For Yom HaShoa, Kvutsat Anafim went to a ceremony at the Akko City Auditorium where we heard speeches and watched a really intense play about the Holocaust and survivors guilt. Dror Israel, the graduate movement of HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, had a museum display set up in the lobby which chronicled the events of the Holocaust, but also detailed the act of Jewish rebellion and uprising. It was a stark contrast to the play which ended with a Hebrew version of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. The following day I woke up and walked into a main intersection in Akko to hear the 10AM siren. It was incredible to see everyone stop their cars and stand in silence. Later, we attended another ceremony at Kibbutz Lochmei HaGata'ot complete with many speeches, candle lightings, songs, dances, and personal stories. There were hundreds of people there from youth movements, the IDF, and the kibbutz. It was a lot more empowering that the play to say the least.
On Yom HaZikaron, a few of us attended the Akko municipality ceremony to honor IDF soldiers who died serving their country. The ceremony started with a siren, followed by reading out the names of Akko residents that died, speeches, songs, and a guy incorrectly singing the Israeli anthem. The next day, we woke up bright and early to hand out flowers to bereaved Akko families at the local cemetery. Around Yom HaZikaron, florists hike up the price of flowers and some mourners cannot afford any for their lost soldiers, so Dror Israel organized to distribute free flowers. We also attended the ceremony at the cemetery that morning filled with speeches and poems.
And after the sun set, it was YOM HA'ATZMAUT! We attended the Akko Yom Ha'Atzmaut Celebration Concert where we listened to Israel X-Factors including the Carakukli Sisters, Tommy & Yan, and winner Rose Fostanes. You haven't experienced Israeli until you go to a concert where 70% of the songs performed are American covers. FYI Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga, are very popular in Israel. The next day we slept in, BBQed, and attempted to go to the beach until we realized it was way to windy to stay.
HBD, Israel. Here's to another 66!