Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (2024)

Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (1)

Yom Ha'atzmaut (Independence day) - commemorates May 14, 1948 (Iyar 5, 5708), when David Ben Gurion declared the independent state of Israel after the British Mandate of Palestine ended.

Yom Ha'zikaron (Remembrance day) always precedes Yom Ha'atzmaut. It is a memorial for all the fallen soldiers of the Israeli army and victims of terrorism.

On Yom Ha'atzmaut there is a tradition to have a picnic and barbeque in the parks and forests. In the evening, people celebrate in the streets with songs and dances, and balconies are decorated with Israeli flags. The design of the Israeli Flag is a blue Star of David (H: Magen David) in the middle between two blue horizontal lines on a white background. The blue represents the color of the sky. The star represents a shield that protects King David. The white represents purity.

Yom Ha'atzmaut main events are:

  • An opening ceremony held on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem. Highlights include: speeches by members of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), soldiers marching in formation carrying the Israeli flag, and lighting of twelve beacons symbolizing the Tribes of Israel.
  • The International Bible Contest (H: Hidon HaTanach) finals. High school students worldwide compete in their home countries and then come to Jerusalem for the finals.
  • Israel Prize ceremony (H: Prasei Israel). The Israeli Prize is awarded for an exceptional contribution to the nation by citizens and corporations in a wide variety of areas such as science, industry and the arts. The nominations are given to judges who submit their recommendations to the Minister of Education.

Chickpea Spread - Hummus

2 cans of canned chickpea (Garbanzo beans)
1/2 cup of water
3 tablespoons of sesame Tahini
5 tablespoons of lemon juice
A pinch of cumin
1 teaspoon of minced garlic (or garlic powder)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil


  1. In a small pot, cook the beans, garlic, cumin, and half the salt, and a cup of water. Bring to boiling and then let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. The goal is to make the beans very soft. When the beans are fully cooked, drain the water.
  2. Work the Tahini into a dip by slowly adding the oil, half a cup of water, and the lemon juice into the Sesame Tahini. Add the other half of the salt.
  3. Grind the beans and the Tahini dip together in a blender until you get a smooth paste.

Hummus is served as a dip on a small plate with a little olive oil and paprika as garnish.

Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (2)

Chickpea Balls - Falafel

1 cup canned chickpeas
1/2 large chopped onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Vegetable oil for frying
1 teaspoon salt


  1. Blend the following ingredients in a food processor or a blender: chickpeas, onions, parsley, salt, and garlic.
  2. In a large bowl, mix in the baking powder and flour to form a dough. The dough should be elastic- not too dry but also not too sticky. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for several hours.
  3. Form the chickpea mixture into small balls.
  4. Heat the oil until very hot and fry the falafel balls. To test if the oil is hot enough and the mixture firm, try to fry one ball. If the ball falls apart, try to add a little flour. Then fry the rest of the balls for a couple of minutes on both sides until browned.
  5. Place the fried falafel balls on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.

Serve in a Pita bread or on a plate with salad, Tahini, and pickles.

Potato Puff Pastry - Burekas

Ingredients for dough (30 Burekas):
2 1/2 cups flour
0.5 lb (200 gr.) of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
6 tablespoons of water
1 egg
A pinch of sesame seeds for toping
Ingredients for filling:
2 cups of mashed potatoes
2 ounces (about 50 grams) of mild semi-hard cheese
1 teaspoon of chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon of salt
A pinch of ground pepper

Preparation of filling:
Mix all the ingredients.
Preparation for dough:

  1. Work the butter and flour into a dough.
  2. Dilute the lemon juice in 5 tablespoons of water. Add to the dough, little by little. The dough should be elastic - not too dry but not too sticky so it is easy to knead.
  3. Cover the dough and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
  4. Roll the dough and cut in to 3 inch (about 8 centimeter) circles.
  5. Put 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle, fold in half and press all the edges. Glaze with egg so it is easy to sprinkle sesame seed.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (3)

Eggplant Spread - (Baba Ghanoush)

Ingredients (2 cups):
2 medium eggplants
1 minced clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 cup Sesame Tahini
3/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Grill the eggplant on both sides in the oven on high heat for about 30 minutes until soft.
  2. Drain from the juices, peal and remove the pulp (the seeds).
  3. Put in a blender or food processor.
  4. Add the garlic, lemon juice, salt and Tahini. Blend all.

Serve with Pita, falafel, and/or Israeli salad.

Eggplant with Mayonnaise

Ingredients (2 cups):
2 medium eggplants
1/2 cup mayonnaise


  1. Grill the eggplant on both sides in the oven on high heat for about 30 minutes until soft.
  2. Drain from the juices, peal and remove the pulp (the seeds).
  3. Put in a blender or food processor.
  4. Mix in the mayonnaise.

Serve with pita or bread.

Israeli Salad

2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 carrot
2 green onion
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
Pinch of ground pepper
Chopped parsley


  1. Clean all vegetables.
  2. Peel and grate the carrot.
  3. Peel and cut the cucumber, cut the tomatoes and green onion.
  4. Add parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice and mix.

You can add: pitted olives, croutons, cut hard-boiled egg, and/or pickled cucumbers.

Simulated Chopped Liver Spread - vegetarian

1 can of canned peas
2 hard-boiled eggs
2 medium onions
1/4 cup walnuts
A pinch of salt


  1. Chop the onions and fry until golden brown.
  2. Drain the peas. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor, until you get a smooth spread.


Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (4)

3 1/2 cups of flour
25 gram (1 oz) of active dry yeast
4 tablespoons of sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter melted to room temperature
2/3 cup of lukewarm water
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
Oil for deep-fry


  1. Dissolve the yeast with 2 tablespoons of sugar in the water while mixing.
  2. Knead for about 5 minutes all the ingredients and add the yeast mixture.
  3. The dough should be elastic but not sticky or dry.
  4. You can knead by hand or use a mixer.
  5. Let the dough rise for at least 2 hours.
  6. Cut the dough to small pieces on a surface sprinkled with flour.
  7. Roll each piece to make a snake with about 5 inch length and a finger size thick.
  8. Pinch the ends together to make a ring.
  9. Deep fry the doughnuts in hot oil for about 2 minutes until golden brown, on both sides.
  10. Cool on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Kids Corner:
Kids can decorate the doughnuts. You can put sticky toppings by themselves or as "glue" for more dry toppings. You can top with honey, chocolate spread, peanut butter, marshmallow spread, whipped cream or jam. You can add dry toppings such as sprinkles, mini M&Ms, powdered sugar, cinnamon, powdered chocolate, chocolate chips, shaved chocolate, shaved coconut, or nuts.

Beteavon! (Hebrew for bon appétit!)
Yom Ha'atzmaut Sameach! - Happy Yom Ha'atzmaut!

Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (5)

Israeli Mosaic Flag

Blue & white construction paper or blue colored magazine ads


  1. Cut small pieces of different shades of blue construction paper or different blue colored magazine ads (check that the ads are child-friendly).
  2. On a rectangle white construction paper, glue the little blue pieces in the shape of two horizontal lines near the top and bottom of the page.
  3. Glue the rest of the blue pieces of paper in a shape of a Star of David in the middle of the white construction paper to make the flag of Israel.
  4. Glue the paper flag onto the stick.

Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (6)

Israeli Pinwheel

6.5 inch (16.5 cm) square blue or white thin paper
Ball-headed pin
Pencil with an eraser


  1. Cut the construction paper to a square.
  2. Draw two diagonal lines on the paper, one from the top left corner to the bottom right corner, and one from the left bottom corner to the top right corner, to make 4 triangles.
  3. Cut along the lines but leave the middle 3/4 inch (about 2 centimeters) not cut. In other words, do not cut all the way to the middle.
  4. Curl every other corner of the triangle to the center, so you have 4 curls. Stick a pin through the center into the pencil's eraser but be careful not to stick it all the way through. Have an adult help with sticking the pin.

You can make a couple of white and blue pinwheel for decoration.

Plastic Container Telephone

2 cottage cheese containers, or any similar size containers
20 feet (6 meters) string


  1. Poke a small hole in the middle of the bottom of the containers.
  2. String the string through the holes and tie a knot inside each of the containers so the string cannot be pulled out.
  3. One person talks inside the container and the other put the other container on his/her ear. The string should be pulled tight so the sound waves can travel efficiently.

Yom Ha'atzmaut Fireworks

Black or dark blue construction paper
Glitter Tempera liquid paints (water-based paint)


  1. Put drops of paint on different places on the construction paper, but not close to the edge.
  2. Blow through a straw so the paint spreads to the sides. If the paint is not liquid enough you may have to add a couple of water drops to dilute it.
  3. You can choose a different color and repeat the process.

Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (7)

Israeli Wind Sock

White & Blue construction paper
White and blue crepe paper optional


  1. Prepare a large white construction paper in a shape of a rectangle. Paint with blue paint two horizontal lines and the Star Of David (as in the Israeli Flag) on the white large construction paper. You can also cut blue construction paper strips to make two horizontal lines and two triangles that make the Star of David.
  2. Staple the large white construction paper to make a long cylinder.
  3. Cut long blue & white strips of construction paper or crepe paper, 2 inches wide (about 5 centimeter) and staple them at the bottom of the Wind Sock an inch (2.5 centimeter) apart.
  4. Poke 2 holes on top of the Wind Sock on opposite side.
  5. Tie the string to both sides of the Wind Sock to hang.

Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (8)

Israeli Lantern

2 White & Blue Large rectangles construction paper


  1. Staple the narrow sides of a white rectangular construction paper to make a cylinder.
  2. Fold the longer sides a blue rectangular piece of construction paper together so you have 2 rectangles one on top of another.
  3. Mark, with a pencil, lines from the bottom of the folded paper to about 3/4 of the height. Start 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) apart but leave 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) from each side of the paper.
  4. Cut along the lines from the bottom of the folded paper. Unfold the paper with the cuts and staple it on the first cylinder. To make the cut fold stand out, keep 2 inches (about 5 centimeter) from the top of the cylinder and 2 inches (about 5 centimeter) from the bottom.
  5. Cut long strips of blue and white construction paper and staple them at the bottom of the cylinder for tassels.
  6. Make 2 holes opposite each other at the top and string a string through them to hang.

Israeli Paper Chain

Strips of white and blue construction paper
Or strips of blue and white colored magazines (kid appropriate)


  1. Staple the two ends of a white strip together to get a circle.
  2. Take a blue strip of paper, put it through the white one, and staple the two ends of that strip together. Continue to make the chain as long as you want.

Paper and Straw Chain

Blue and White Construction paper


  1. Cut blue and white construction paper in different shapes such as hearts, Magen David, circle, triangles, etc. Cut a hole in the center.
  2. Cut straw into 2 inches (about 5 centimeter) wide pieces.
  3. String each shape with the string through the middle and between each shape string a piece of straw. That will keep the shapes apart so you can distinguish them.
Yom Ha'atzmaut Recipes and Crafts (2024)
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