In a colorful ceremony with music, dance, army drill and fireworks at Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein Monday night lit the first torch to mark the start of Israel’s 66th independence celebrations at the end of the Day of Remembrance for Israel’s fallen.

Twelve women, each distinguished in her field of endeavor lit torches: Carmela Menashe, radio military correspondent; Miriam Zohar, actress; Rabbanit Adina Bar-Shalom, educator; Kira Radinsky, scientist; Hindiya Suleiman, Galilee entrepreneur who set up a workshop for Arab village women; Shahar Peer, tennis champion; Pascale Berkovich, paraplegic Olympic champion; Maxine Passberg, Dep. CEO of Intel-Israel; Miriam Peretz, two of whose sons, Golani unit officers, fell in battle; Tali Peretz-Cohen, who established and runs the center for abused women in Galilee and Golan; Geulah Cohen, former Knesset member and heroine of the pre-state underground movements; Blayansh Zabadiya, Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia; Brig-Gen. Orna Barvibai, head of the IDF Manpower Division and the first woman to attain the rank of brigadier.