As Israel commemorates its 76th year of independence, celebrations are being toned down in deference to the somber reality of the Gaza War.

This year’s torch-lighting ceremony, which traditionally marks the start of Independence Day, was filmed without a live audience out of respect for the circumstances. The torches were lit in locations bearing the scars of the conflict, including Zikim, Sderot, and near Kibbutz Re’im, where the brutal Supernova music festival massacre claimed 364 lives at the hands of Hamas on October 7.

As per JNS, 44 individuals representing various segments of Israeli society were chosen to light the 12 commemorative torches. These ranged from honoring the security forces and emergency responders to recognizing public diplomacy efforts, the unbroken spirit of hope, medical workers saving lives, charitable organizations providing aid, and the global Jewish diaspora. Poignantly, the final torch was left unlit to symbolize the 132 Israeli hostages still being held captive in Gaza.

Hallmarks of Israel’s jubilant Independence Day celebrations – the dazzling fireworks displays and the traditional Israeli Air Force flyover – have also been canceled this year, as the nation commemorates its bittersweet anniversary.

Comments (0)