The Knesset on Monday held a reception for the 14 people who were selected to light torches during the official state ceremony kicking off Israel`s 68th Independence Day celebrations. The theme of the traditional event on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Tuesday night will be ”Civilian Heroism”.

During the event, the torch lighters received certificate appreciation from Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, World Zionist Organization Chairman Avraham Duvdevani, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and relatives of the torch lighters were also in attendance.

Addressing the torch lighters, Edelstein said ”Each torch represents the light each one of you spreads around [him or her], and together they form a human and moral force, a collective message of this nation – its unity and strength.”

Independence Day torch lighters attend festive event at the Knesset; Speaker Edelstein: ”You embody the concept of civil courage”

(Photo: Itzik Harari, Knesset`s Public Relations Division)

“Each and every one of you embodies the concept of civil courage… and represents the path towards an exemplary society that is moral, caring and often times moving,” the Knesset Speaker said.

Minister Regev said this year she thought it would be proper to ”salute the simple citizens whose heroism is unique in that it does not take religion, race or gender into consideration, and who have the ability to do good for others – not for fame or reward – but only out of the desire to be good and contribute to others.”

”If we will be able to cause Israel`s citizens to say `I want to do a good deed` every week, two weeks or year, we will have succeeded in conveying the message of a society with mutual responsibility which says that we are all equal people,” she added.

Independence Day torch lighters attend festive event at the Knesset; Speaker Edelstein: ”You embody the concept of civil courage”

(Photo: Itzik Harari, Knesset`s Public Relations Division)

Barkat turned to the torch lighters and said, ”As Israelis, we have sometimes made complaining a national sport, and we very much like to list the challenges and the problems we are facing, but sitting here are 14 citizens who do something to effect change and take responsibility for the general [population]. You project consideration and responsibility to all the people of Israel.”

Prior to the event, the torch lighters posed for a group photo with Speaker Edelstein, Minister Regev and WZO Chairman Duvdevani.