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As Israelis begin their Yom Ha'atzma'ut celebrations with the traditional barbeque, dancing and drinking, fireworks will light up the skies across Israel, eliciting sounds of admiration from young and old alike.
Fireworks have been a staple of celebratory gatherings for the last 1,000 years, beginning with the Chinese. They created fireworks as a means to fend off evil spirits, but today fireworks have been transformed into a multi-million dollar industry and are used as a form of entertainment for celebrations across the globe.
Fireworks have been a part of Yom Ha'atzma'ut celebrations since the inception of the holiday in 1948. This year's opening ceremony for Yom Ha'atzma'ut on Mount Herzl will feature an eight-minute bonanza of exploding lights and sounds over the hills of Jerusalem.
Lavi Omega Fireworks, one of the largest fireworks and pyrotechnics companies in Israel, has been in charge of the fireworks display on Mount Herzl for several years. This year, the company is using new technology to dazzle the crowds.
The colorful displays are most commonly controlled manually by using electrical currents to launch the fireworks skyward, but the fireworks display for the opening ceremony of Yom Ha'atzma'ut this year will be controlled by a pre-programmed computer in order to ignite the fireworks according to a specific schedule. The use of a computer allows for the fireworks to be launched in rapid succession and reduces the amount of human error involved in the display.
"The program we have planned for Yom Ha'atzma'ut requires the use of a computer because there is only a quarter of a second in between each firework being launched, and it is impossible to do all of this manually," said Amir Hod, the manager of Lavi Omega Fireworks.
Hundreds of communities across Israel have organized their own fireworks displays. Lavi Omega alone is in charge of nearly 100 different fireworks shows on the eve of Yom Ha'atzma'ut in various towns, moshavs and kibbutzes.
"This year we will be using new fireworks and new technology to create the best show for the spectators. I am sure the fireworks will be enjoyed by all," said Hod.