As Israel prepares to celebrate this year’s independence day, which marks 70 years since the country’s establishment, the names of the torch lighters for the state ceremony are being revealed. On Wednesday, it was announced that Israeli singer and songwriter Shlomo Artzi will be one of them.

Shlomo Artzi

Shlomo Artzi Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/Flash 90

Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev announced on Wednesday afternoon that singer and songwriter Shlomo Artzi has been selected as one of the torch lighters for this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut state ceremony, which will mark 70 years of independence. “In his unique style, Artzi expresses the experience of Israeli life in his songs, journalistic writing and radio broadcasts,” Regev stated.

The committee that selected Artzi as one of the 12 torch lighters explained its decision: “Shlomo Artzi, a native Israeli, a son of Holocaust survivors, one of our greatest artists, has been chosen to light a torch at the state ceremony at Mount Herzl in honor of the 70th-year celebration…His songs and works have become an integral part of the country’s cultural legacy.”

“I’m really honored,” Artzi said after he was informed of the committee’s decision. “It’s a shame that my parents and sisters will not get to see [this] and be with me to share this moment.”

Watch: Shlomo Artzi’s hit song “Yera’ach” (Moon)