The Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs has released the names of
the 14 beacon lighters who will participate in the opening ceremony on Mount
Herzl to mark the 65th anniversary of Israel’s Independence on May
Among them will be a veteran of the War of Independence whose
personal history and that of the development of aviation in the State of Israel
are symbiotic. Danny Shapira, formerly Israel’s chief test pilot, is a graduate
of the first pilot’s course of the Israel Air Force, and also the first graduate
of the course for combat pilots.
He participated in most of Israel’s
wars, and has flown over a hundred types of aircraft, many on dangerous
missions. Shapira is widely acknowledged the best pilot Israel has ever had, and
he is held in such high regard that in 2009 Zinko studios made a documentary
film on his life.
His two sons Ronen and Oded are also
Teacher and historian Muki Tsur is a kibbutznik who has been a
member of Kibbutz Ein Gev since 1956. He is a former secretary of the Kibbutz
Movement, having served in that role for seven years.
A graduate of the
Hebrew University Jerusalem, he studied Jewish philosophy and kabbala, as well
as the history of the early Zionist movements in the Land of Israel, and
continues to research all three subjects.
Tsur was among the founders of
Hamidrasha in Oranim as well as in Bina, a secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv. He
teaches in both, as well as in other places, believing strongly in the
importance of imparting Jewish tradition, regardless of the extent to which one
is religiously observant.
David Blumberg is the chairman of the board of
directors of the National Library in Jerusalem, currently celebrating its 120th
anniversary, and painstakingly and effectively preserving the cultural and
spiritual documents of the Jewish People and the State of Israel from ancient
times to the present day. The library disseminates their content and strives to
provide as much access as possible with the aim of helping to create a more
enlightened society. Under his direction, the library is going through a process
of renewal to enable it to meet the demands and developments of the 21st
Blumberg also chairs the Adi Foundation named in memory of Adi
Blumberg- Dermer, a promising young artist who passed away in the prime of her
life. The foundation promotes art and culture and offers valuable encouragement
to young artists.
Tamar Ross is an Orthodox feminist and a Jewish
philosophy professor whose main area of expertise is the teachings of Rabbi
Abraham Isaac Kook, the Musar Movement, the ideology of the mitnagdim who
fiercely opposed the rise of hassidism, and gender issues in
Ross has authored books and articles on Jewish ethics, theology
and contemporary issues such as orthodox Jewish feminism.
Buzaglo is both a mathematician and a philosopher, but prefers to focus on the
latter. His research interests are philosophy of Judaism, the Masorti
(Conservative) Movement in Israel, philosophy of language and Jewish tradition,
cognition and concept expansion. Buzaglo is particularly interested in reviving
interest in sacred poetry and has created a website for this purpose.
Tzur is the Mayor of Rishon Lezion and Iris Halperin is the principal of the
Haviv School one of the city’s oldest educational facilities.
July, 1882 by Jewish immigrants from Europe, Rishon Lezion is steeped in
contemporary history, and has preserved many of the traditions of its founding
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding prime minister, was head of
the workers union at the Rishon winery before entering politics on a grand
Tzur represents both local government and the Israeli melting pot,
in that he is the son of a Holocaust survivor who lost his whole family in
Europe and a mother who was born in Syria. Halperin, who has been a professional
educator for 24 years, represents the tradition of Hebrew education and the
revival of the Hebrew language.
Bilha Ben-Eliyahu, who lectures
extensively on Hebrew literature, has won an envied reputation for the unusual
insight she demonstrates in her interpretations and
Ben-Eliyahu has an in depth background in history, Bible and
Prof. Elian Elkarnoy is a Beduin who resides in Rahat, and is
the president of Achva Academic College which is under the geographic
jurisdiction of the Be’er Tuvia Regional Council. He is the first Beduin to head
a general facility for higher education in Israel. Despite some opposition to
his appointment, Elkarnoy has proved himself worthy, and is also a convincing
advocate for the teaching of Arab customs and traditions.
is of Indian descent. Her parents are members of the Bnei Israel who initially
encountered enormous difficulties in being recognized as Jews in
Her father was one of the leaders in the struggle for
Shimshon is writing her father’s biography which describes
the transition of the Bnei Israel from India to Israel, the humiliations they
suffered and the triumph they experienced when they eventually won their
Veteran journalist Rino Tzror, in his radio programs and in the
films he produces and directs, demonstrates a rare sensitivity for other
people’s problems, and shows the human face of Israel in its many varieties,
with all its problems, all its warts and all its social issues.
Hadvati is a field worker for the Council for the Preservation of Heritage Sites
in the Sharon Region. A kibbutznik and a farmer, he is among the founders of the
museum on Kibbutz Ein Shemer.
The future is represented by two teenage
beacon lighters who are group leaders of Zionist youth movements.
Parczik, 18, is a member of the left-wing Hashomer Hatzair youth movement and
Elian Elbaz is a member of the right wing Betar youth movement.
their ideologies are different, their end goal is the same.