Praising the Lord on Israel's Independence Day: Yes or No?

The answer comes down to the nature of deliverance, and to what you think the Jewish state represents.

A man wrapped in an Israeli flag walks on the beach in Tel Aviv during celebrations on Israel’s 66th Independence Day, May 6, 2014. Yaakov Naumi/Flash 90.

A man wrapped in an Israeli flag walks on the beach in Tel Aviv during celebrations on Israel’s 66th Independence Day, May 6, 2014. Yaakov Naumi/Flash 90.

Atar Hadari
Observation
May 11 2016
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


One of the most persistent controversies within Orthodox Judaism today concerns the question of whether to say the prayer known as Hallel on Yom Ha-Atsma’ut, Israel’s Independence Day (which this year falls tomorrow, May 12)—and if so, whether the prayer should begin with the blessing that traditionally accompanies it. This dispute is generally understood as being over whether one opposes or embraces Zionism, but I’d like to suggest that it’s about much more than that.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Independence Day, Religion & Holidays, Talmud