The 2020 Israeli Beacon Lighters
The Beacon or Torch Lighting Ceremony is a significant event in Israeli culture, and it symbolizes the transition from the grieving of Yom HaZikaron to the celebrations of Yom Ha'atzmaut. The ceremony takes place on Mount Herzl, and it is considered the Knesset Speaker's main baby.
As we all know, this year the celebrations were mostly canceled or broadcasted online, due to the Coronavirus limitations and restrictions. Therefore, this ceremony wasn't held in front of a live audience like always, and most of the content was pre-recorded.
A major part of the ceremony is the Beacon Lighting. The 12 lighters are chosen by the Minister of Culture, representing the year's ceremony theme.
This year (2020) the theme was "Connections in Israeli Society", and these were the 12 chosen lighters:
Adi is a 33-year-old social entrepreneur, she established "HaKnafayim Shel Krembo", a youth movement for kids with and without special needs. She also created the Zikaron Basalon project. She takes part in many more projects and movements and is a true inspiration to us all.
Every kid in Israel grew up on this bubbly redhead comedian. For years she was a prominent figure in Israeli television, specifically the children's TV.
Reina Abitbul & Jasmin Mazawi
These two, Reina the 92-year-old, and Jasmin the 20-year-old lit the Beacon as a symbol of the Israeli volunteers of all ages, that assisted the medical forces during the Coronavirus pandemic. Reina volunteers at Sha'arei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem, and Jasmin in MDA.
Ahmad Balauna & Yael Viluzni
Ahmad is a nurse in the Puriya Hospital in Tiberias and was one of the first volunteers to treat the Coronavirus-affected people in Israel.
Ori is the CEO and founder of "Masa Yisraeli", an educational program with the purpose to strengthen Israeli, Jewish, and personal identity.
Hisham is a Druze soldier and officer and is currently the commander of the School of Tanks. Hisham's personal story is quite amazing, and he symbolizes the connection between the different social groups that serve in the IDF.
Lori Platnick is a Jewish writer, educational leader, and founder of the "Momentum" organization. The organization's main program is an eight day trip around Israel, and over 20,000 mothers from all around the world have participated, meeting Israeli mothers and creating meaningful connections with different parts of the Israeli society.
Eli Ben Shem
Chairman of the "Yad Labanim" organization. The organization works on commemorating Israel's fallen soldiers, and taking care of their bereaved families. Eli is a bereaved parent himself, he lost his son in the horrible Helicopter Disaster in 1997. Eli and his organization have done amazing work in assisting bereaved families with all of their needs.
Professor Galia Rahav
Professor Rahav is an internationally acclaimed Infectious Disease Specialist, and she managed the setup of the Coronavirus center in the Sheba hospital. She leads clinical Corona research and is part of the team looking for a cure for the virus. Born in Jerusalem, Professor Rahav is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor father, the was the Partizan Doctor during the war.
One of Israel's most famous singer-songwriters. He took part in the Shevet Ahim VaAhayot hit song that was released during last year's Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations. Born in 1977, Reichel is mostly known for the "Idan Reichel Project" that together released five albums.
Chairman of the "Yedidim Siyuah BaDrahim" organization. The organization runs around 20,000 volunteers across Israel, from all different parts of society, that assist thousands of drivers that suffer from all sorts of mechanical problems on the road, including rescuing babies that are left inside locked cars. During the Coronavirus pandemic, the organization has been helping elderly and isolated people across the country.