When Memorial Day draws to an end on Monday evening, 12 torches will be lit by Israelis during an annual ceremony at the Mount Herzl military cemetery to mark the beginning of Israel’s 65th Independence Day.
The theme for 2013’s ceremony, chosen by the Ministerial Committee for Ceremonies and Icons, is the national legacy and the preservation of national cultural assets for generations to come.
This year, 14 honorees will light the 12 ceremonial torches that together represent the 12 biblical tribes of Israel.
The torch lighters for 2013 are:
1) Colonel (Ret.) Dani Shapira, one of the first Israel Air Force pilots, who went on to spend 57 years flying planes as a service pilot and test pilot.
2) Historian and researcher Muki Tzur, for his work on investigating the settlement of Israel and the kibbutz movement.
3) David Blumberg, chairman of the board of the National Library.
4) Tamar Ross, researcher and presenter in the field of philosophy of Israel.
5) Meir Buzaglo, mathematician and philosopher, who has worked to renew interest in Jewish poetry.
6) Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Tzur, who will light a torch together with Iris Halperen, principal of the Haviv school, who has spent over 24 years in education.
7) Bilah Ben Eliyahu, presenter on contemporary Jewish literature.
8) Eliyan Elkrainu, the first Bedouin to preside over an academic institute, the Ahva Institute.
9) Daphne Shimshon, the daughter of Indian immigrants. Her father was a community leader who was active in gaining full recognition of the community as being Jewish.
10) Rino Tzror, veteran journalist and radio host.
11) Ron Hedvati, a ranger for the Council for the Preservation for Heritage Sites and the founder of a museum in Kibbutz Ein Shemer.
12) Agatha Farchick, a Ukrainian-born youth leader in the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement that this year marks its 100th anniversary, and Eliyana Elbaz, a youth leader in the Revisionist Youth movement that is marking its 90th year. A year and a half ago Elbaz’s father, who was active in the security forces and the police, was killed on his way to a mission. They will light a torch dedicated to the country’s youth.