Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS on 8 May, 2019

Israel’s Independence Day Fireworks Doused by War

Public By Pesach Benson • 6 March, 2024

Jerusalem, 6 March, 2024 (TPS) -- Israel canceled fireworks displays at national Independence Day celebrations because of the war with Hamas, Transport Minister Miri Regev said on Wednesday.

“In light of the events of Oct. 7 and the war, we are adjusting the format of the ceremony,” said Regev, who is overseeing Israel’s official Independence Day celebrations.

Regev also called on municipal leaders organizing celebrations in their localities to do likewise.

Independence Day, Israel’s 76th, begins at sundown on May 13.

Israel’s Memorial Day honoring fallen soldiers and terror victims is held the day before. A nationally televised torch-lighting ceremony at the Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery marks the transition from the somber Memorial Day to the joy of Independence Day.

Twelve individuals are chosen to light torches, each representing a different aspect of Israeli society, including contributions to the arts, sciences, education, social welfare, and more. The fireworks traditionally follow the conclusion of the torch-lighting ceremony.

Families of the hostages have requested that some of the 12 torches be lit in the areas attacked by Hamas on October 7.

Most likely to be included would be the site of the Supernova music festival where 364 people were killed and 40 abducted. Of all the locations attacked by Hamas that day, the all-night festival on the grounds of Kibbutz Re’im had the highest death toll. The site has emerged as a pilgrimage point for Israelis to process their grief and for visiting foreigners to show solidarity.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the remaining 134 hostages, Israel recently declared 31 of them dead.