Yaish Giat, a 102-year-old Yemeni spice shop owner, will serve as the torchbearer for Israel’s 73rd Independence Day torch-lighting ceremonies as part of the service’s dedications to immigrants from Yemen, according to The Times of Israel. The beacons at the event will be dedicated to immigrants from Yemen, cabinet ministers announced in a statement last week.
Giat, who was born in Yemen and is a Torah and religious scholar, was surprised by the announcement. “People say it is a great honor. I do not know,” he told the Ynet news site. “When I raise the torch I will wish that our nation love one another, that people will respect one another for the benefit of the Land of Israel.”
The Ashkelon spice shop owner is also a volunteer and guiding figure in the community. The two cabinet members who picked him said in a statement, “Giat, a representative of the older generation, a native of Yemen, symbolizes the pioneering, influential and overflowing aliyah of all Yemenite Jewry to Israel.”