Shaving for Yom Ha-Atzmaut

Q: Is one obligated to shave before Yom Ha-Atzmaut (since there is a custom not to get a shave during the period of Sefirat Ha-Omer)?
A: Yes, just as one shaves all year long to honor Shabbat, it is a mitzvah to shave in honor of Yom Ha-Atzmaut. Obviously, if a person does not shave his beard at all, he does not do so, but if he generally does so for Shabbat, then he also shaves for Yom Ha-Atzmaut. The same applies to getting a haircut. I remember that some students once asked our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook, before Yom Ha-Atzmaut if it is permissible to shave for this day. Our Rabbi did not answer. Later he responded: "Tomorrow there will be an exam on your faces." On Yom Ha-Atzmaut he saw that some students had been strict with themselves and had not shaved. He said of them: "Their faces show their character" (Yeshayahu 3:9, i.e. they had not absorbed the true joy of the day). He added: When there is faith, there is joy and when there is joy there are no halachic doubts. How long will we speak out of both sides of our mouths (see Melachim 1 18:21)?! Do we believe in the Revealed Redemption or not?!"
Q: When should one get a haircut or shave since Erev Yom Ha-Atzmaut is Remembrance Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Tzahal?
A: One should do so a little bit before the holiday begins. For example, if Ma'ariv is at 7:00 PM, he should shave at 6:00 PM.