The month of April always brings Israelis out of their homes and roaming across the land, as Passover and then Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day — following in quick succession — offer plenty of opportunity for the typical Israeli tiyul (hike), picnic (picnic), or mangal (barbecue). During Passover, a quarter of a million people visited the country’s nature reserves and national parks, breaking their matzah with friends and family. While more Israelis now have private backyards for holding their mandatory friends-and-family Yom Ha’atzmaut mangal, they still take advantage of the holiday weekend to travel around and explore what has been laying dormant all winter.
“It’s a tradition for Israelis to go to the forests and parks on Yom Ha’atzmaut,” said Esther Weinstein, director of the tourism department at Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael, the Israeli arm of the Jewish National Fund. “They go in groups, with their army friends, their friends from the absorption center, friends from past lives and it’s part of the experience of being with the rest of the nation. Yom Ha’atzmaut means the land of Israel, not in the political sense, but in a real sense, going out and experiencing the country.”
Here are a couple of tried and true ideas for enjoying Israel this season. Happy 64th, Israel!