Israelis began celebrating 59 years of independence Monday evening. Yom Ha’atzmaut started immediately after a day of mourning for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. The Israeli flag at Mount Herzl cemetery was raised at sunset from its half-mast position and 12 torches were lit, starting a celebration that included speeches, singing and dancing. Knesset Speaker and Acting President Dalia Itzik lit the first torch and addressed the crowd at the official event. Among those in attendance were government and army officials, an Israel Defense Forces honor guard, youth movement members and performing artists.
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