Israelis wave national flags as they watch fireworks during celebrations marking Israel's Independence Day in Tel Aviv .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An annual torch-lighting ceremony is being held on Jerusalem’s Mt. Herzl on Wednesday, marking the end of Remembrance Day.
The end of the ceremony will touch off Independence Day celebrations across the country.
The official theme of this year's Independence Day ceremony at Mount Herzl is “Israeli Trailblazers.”
The participants of this year’s ceremony, who were chosen by a public committee within the Israel National Ceremony Center, will be lighting 12 torches, representing the 12 tribes of the Jewish nation.
The torchlighters include Rami Levy, the supermarket entrepreneur; Ehud Shabtai, the creator of the popular GPS application Waze; Danny Gold, the brains behind the Iron Dome anti-rocket system; Alice Miller, who successfully petitioned the High Court to allow women to serve as combat pilots; Or Assouline, a 17-year-old entrepreneur; and Lucy Aharish, an Israeli-Arab broadcast journalist.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein delivered the opening remarks at the ceremony.
“I love this country,” Edelstein said. “But more than anything - I love this nation. I love the intellectuals, the authors, the academics, and, yes, also those who kiss the mezuzah and those who pay homage to the rabbinical sages.”
“In my view, every is equal,” he said. “To the glory of the State of Israel!”
Edelstein praised the "fraternity and concern shown for one another" during Operation Protective Edge.
"This national might is not only expressed with Iron Dome and advanced fighter jets," he said. "It is expressed with a special spirit that is evident in this nation."