Yom HaZikaron is the Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. It's an official memorial day that was enacted into law in 1963. It's the day when Israelis stops and honor the fallen soldiers of the country. Since Jewish tradition sees the day starting from sunset to sunset, the events of this day will started on Tuesday evening.
A few things that you should know (and probably already noticed) as tourists:
* There are two sirens heard; the first at the preceding evening at 20:00, that will last for 1 minute. The 2nd on Yom HaZikaron day at 11:00, and this one is 2 minutes long.
* In the preceding evening all stores and restaurant are closed. Grocery stores and supermarkets will be open on Yom HaZikaron itself. Restaurants will still be closed.
* There will be no rehearsals for Eurovision on Yom HaZikaron. That is why rehearsals started a day earlier this year.
* In addition, radio will play only sad songs from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening. TV will air special programming at the same time.
And then things take a drastic turn. On Wednesday evening Yom HaZikaron ends and the Independence Day begins. It "is the national day of Israel, commemorating the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948" (from Wikipedia). It's a day of ceremonies, celebrations and parties, and you'll notice Israelis tend to party hard. This will take place from Wednesday evening to Thursday evening.
A few things that you should know as tourists:
* Grocery stores and supermarkets will be closed early on Wednesday. Restaurants are supposed to remain open and will probably be packed.
* There will be road blocks on Wednesday evening. It's not only for security reasons; Throughout the evening and the night there will be shows going on, known in Israel as "Bamot Bidur" (Entertainment stages). There will probably hundreds of them throughout the country. These shows are free and open to all. If you'll go to one of them you'll see insane amount of people attending, including families. The performers are usually Israeli biggest music stars. Check out who's performing in your area.
* Rehearsals for Eurovision will go on regularly on Thursday.
* most grocery stores and supermarkets will be closed on Thursday, but you might find a handful of AMPM stores open.
Picture by Ishai Parasol