Israel’s Thanksgiving Day


America isn’t the only country with a Thanksgiving Day.

Canada, for example, celebrates theirs on the second Monday of each month.

And before it became an independent nation. Israel used to celebrate Thanksgiving on Dec. 9.


Thanksgiving in Palestine, also known as Deliverance Day, celebrated the British conquest of Jerusalem by General Allenby on Dec. 9.

While JTA’s online archive doesn’t make mention of a feast associated with the holiday, worship among all faiths was a central facet of the holiday, as was the case in 1923:

Thanks-giving service in celebration of the Sixth Anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem by General Allenby’s forces was held at the St. George Cathedral here Sunday. Governor Storrs of Jerusalem acted as host to a select gathering representing the various communities-Moslemm Jewish and Christian. Sir Herbert Samuel, the High Commissioner, and all the highest officials attended the service, as did also the two Chief Rabbis, the Rev. Isaac Kuk, representing the Ashkenazic Jewish community and Rabbi Jacob Mayer, the Sephardic Jewish community. The service was conducted in English, Arabic and Hebrew. Among the conspicuous absentees were Cardinal Barlassina, the Latin patriarch, and Mufti Husseini, the highest Moslem dignitary in the land. The absence of the Muffti may not have been a coincidence; Arab residents of Palestine were not particularly fond of the holiday.

In 1929, a British inquiry into riots in Palestine led to a recommendation to cancel the holiday.

Today, one could reasonably argue that Yom Ha’atzmaut has supplanted Deliverance Day.

For those looking for a familiar modern Thanksgiving experience in Israel, you’ll be pleased to know that many American Turkey Day staples are available. In 1999, Israel consumed more Turkey than any other nation.

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