The State of Israel turns 58 this week. Do you know where you'll be? If the answer is "at home on the couch," you might want to reconsider. Independence Day, or Yom Ha'atzmaut, could just as well be called Party Day, with myriad parties and events to be held in honor of the holiday.
Well-known American-style bar Mike's Place will hold its annual Yom Ha'atzmaut bash at both its Jerusalem and Tel Aviv locations. No cover fee will be charged for you to see live rock music performed under a throng of blue and white decorations while while you hold onto your blue and white beverage. Head there the night of May 2 in Jerusalem at Jaffa 37 (next to Zion Square) or in Tel Aviv at 86 Herbert Samuel St (next to the American Embassy). (052) 267-0965
Tel Aviv's Bugsy will offer a unique evening to celebrate Israel's independence. Named after the Jewish gangster who made a name for himself in Las Vegas, this Bugsy is very much alive and kicking in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood of Florentine. One of the most popular nightspots on the artsy/bohemian scene, Bugsy will feature a soundtrack of Israeli music past and present. The menu will take on a special Israeli flavor with variations on the felafel, including leek and goat cheese alternatives to this deep fried favorite. Check it out at 26 Florentine Street. For information, call (03) 681-3138.
The Goldstar Zappa club is hosting Evyatar Banai for two shows the eve of Independence Day. Israel's 58th year will be celebrated along with the release of Banai's new album, Standing on Paper. The folksy singer will be joined on stage by multiple guitars, bass and drums. The first show on Tuesday night starts at 20:45 and the second is at midnight. Tickets cost NIS 85. For information, call (03) 649-9550.
Of course, no night of partying is complete without a contribution from the Haoman 17 club. This year's Jerusalem shindig will take place at Beit Shmuel near the King David Hotel. In conjunction with Layla Bar and the Adom and Gong restaurants, doors are set to open at 23:00 on Tuesday for the 23-and-up crowd. Specially themed decorations and lighting will serve as the backdrop to music provided by two DJs. Roni Galamidi will spin R & B, dance and hip-hop and will be followed by Haoman's resident DJ, Yuval Zach, who will offer electronica, house and trance until the party's end early in the morning. There will be drink specials at the bar and the cover charge will range between NIS 50 and 90 depending on when the ticket is purchased. For information and tickets, call (052) 383-3117.
The Tel Aviv municipality is planning a number of events, all of which are free. On Independence Day eve the main event will be held at Rabin Square. Starting at 21:00 there will be performances by Rami Kleinstein, Tipex and Kobi Mahat, as well as dancing and fireworks. At Davidoff Park in Jaffa, Eyal Golan, Gabriel Butler, Hadag Nahash and local bands will perform, with a fireworks show to follow. At 22:00 there will be public singing in the square of the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center and folk dancing in front of the Tel Aviv Museum. The following day at 11 a.m., there will be a freestyle parachuting show at Jerusalem Beach.
Shesek, the bohemian's bar of choice, will host the Nesher Beer Festival, with bottles of Israeli brews priced at NIS 9.99. To add to the atmosphere there will be plates of hummus, pita and pickles. Jameson chasers will go for NIS 11 and DJ Roy and Yoni Wizards of Oz will provide the tunes. Doors open at 21:00 and close when the last customer leaves. For information, call (03) 516-9520.
If you're looking for a party, an authentic street rave may be just you need. Set to begin at midnight on Independence Day eve, the first Electropanika and PAG rave will feature multiple performance acts, a pool and a traditional hora dance. Hosted in conjunction with the trendy Cafe Barzilay, the theme is electronic and Eighties music. The event will also feature a performance by Guy Gerber. In true rave fashion, the exact location will be made public 48 hours prior to the event. Admission will be NIS 50-60. Call (03) 620-3414 to leave your contact information so that you can be called with further details.
If you're looking to celebrate in a language other than Hebrew, Yung Yiddish will be offering a, well, Yiddish alternative - but a couple of days later. On Thursday, May 4, at 20:30, klezmer ensemble Trio Carpion will lay down perform at 52 Yirmiyahu Street in the Romema section of Jerusalem. For more information, call (03) 529-0442, visit www.yiddish.co.il, or call (02) 500-1395 three hours prior to the performance. Tickets cost NIS 35-50.
Ra'anana will be doing it up like no other municipality with an amazing selection of events. Starting at midnight on Independence Day eve, Beit Habubot, Infectzia and Monica Sex will join local bands and DJs to provide a dance party lasting into the wee hours of the night. Then, beginning at 08:30 on Wednesday, the main stage in Ra'anana Park will host the mayor, local school dance troupes and musicians Harel Moyal, Lior Farchi and The Idan Reichel Project. At 10 a.m., this performance will be followed by Anvei HaGefen's mix of Hassidic, traditional and soul music. Pninei Hasharon and Yael Bar Zohar will appear that same morning at the park's roller rink.
The Jerusalem municipality will celebrate Israel's 58th birthday with 14 fireworks displays involving three thousand fireworks. The first show will take place at 21:00 on Mt. Herzl. Two other shows, at 22:00 and again at midnight, will be launched from atop the Plaza Hotel and can be viewed from the Armon Hanatziv and Mt. Scopus Promenades, at the Cinematheque Bridge and from the Mt. of Olives. Mayor Lupolianski invites all Israelis to come and celebrate in the nation's capital. The following day, the annual Independence Day Parade will begin at Hashin Street. History-based street theater and singing will take place in the Russian Compound from 14:00 to 21:00, and admission is free. For information, call (02) 629-7744.
Jerusalem's Hama'abada bar, in conjunction with the Bezalel art school, will hold a party under the stars that will also celebrate the prestigious art academy's centennial. At 23:00 on Tuesday, DJ Gal Offer of Tel Aviv's The Breakfast Club will spin hip hop at the bar, which is located near Jerusalem's old train station. Hama'abada will feature discounted prices at its bar. For information, call (02) 629-2001.