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May 17, 2012

Proposed Law: Yom HaAtzmaut On Thursday

With the rarity of Yom haAtzmaut actually falling out on the 5th of Iyar, this newly proposed law is going to turn that possibility into a near impossibility/

MK Lia SHemtov (Yisrael Beiteinu) has proposed a law by which Yom HaAtzmaut would be celebrated on the Thursday of the week in which the 5th of Iyar falls out on any given year.

The proposal is based on the fact that most of the time Yom HaAtzmaut is celebrated on Thursday already, due to it being pushed back any time it falls out on Friday or Saturday, there is a benefit to setting a specific day for the celebration. Doing so, Shemtov says, would prevent confusion.

Minister of Tourism Stas Maseshnikov supports the proposal, and said that this would prevent special holiday vacation days falling out in mid-week, as happens today. Bereaved families will be able to prepare easier for the Memorial Day events and for Yom HaAtzmaut, and to take full advantage of the work week, while preventing chillul Shabbat.
(source: Ynet)

The proposal, if it should pass, would guarantee the coveted "long weekend". However it might also distance emotionally the celebrations from the actual date. As time goes on, we are getting further and further away from celebrating on the actual day...

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  1. On some level, it is like the US eventually designating the 4th Thursday of November for Thanksgiving. It loses some of its significance from a purely historical standpoint, yet retains the essence of the day. As an aside, will this also move Yom HaZikaron to the Wednesday of the week of the 5th of Iyyar? I would assume the two are intertwined enough. Also, would the rabbis agree or would the tachanun/hallel issue become more divided?

  2. Personally, I have never understood the position of the Rabbanut on this. If they've been through the shakla v'tarya of the sugya of Hallel, and decided that the events following 5 Iyar 5708 halachically justify a new pseudo-Yomtov, including saying Hallel with a bracha, then why should that date be shifted? מהיכא תיתי that a Yom Hallel can be shifted to keep it at least 2 days away from shabbos? Do we shift the date of a Friday Purim so that people don't drive on Shabbos to get home from the seuda? Or a Sunday Purim so that people don't drive too early to hear the Megilla? Is Yom HaAtzmaut a religious holiday or not? If it is, why compromise its chashivus by shifting its date from year to year? And if not, how can you make a bracha on Hallel?

    This, unfortunately, is the logical conclusion of the Rabbanut's position: the Knesset is now debating fixing the date of Yom HaAtzmaut according to completely non-halachic considerations. And how could the Rabbanut complain? - after all, they set the precedent.


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