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. Jerusalem The Municipality will celebrate Israel's 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. 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. 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 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. 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. Tel Aviv Tel Aviv celebrates Independence Day with fireworks and a variety of musical performances at several locations around the city. Rami Kleinstein, Teapacks, Kobi Mahat and Me'urav Tel Avivi from the Beit Danny Community Center will appear on the central stage in Rabin Square on May 2, starting at 9 p.m. Emcee for the evening will be Noam Gil Or and the festivities will include a dance party and fireworks. For those who want to join the singing, Sarale Sharon, Moshe Lahav, Hatayish Hagadol and Gabi Berlin will be leading a sing-along in the plaza in front of the Performing Arts Center beginning at 10 p.m. Folk dancing, led by Sarah Aviv and Gadi Biton to live music, will also begin at 10 p.m. the plaza in front of Beit Ariella and the Tel Aviv Museum.
In Jaffa's Davidoff Park, celebrations will feature Eyal Golan, Gabriel Batler and Hadag Nahash. There will also be fireworks in Park Darom where Oded Menashe, Gali Atari and Kobi Peretz are appearing. Local talent will be featured in the Rozin Garden in Ramat Aviv C.
Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. the Freedive Club presents a display of freestyle parachuting at the Jerusalem Beach, Lahat Promenade on Rehov Herbet Samuel. Be prompt - they promise to start on time.
There is no admission fee for any of the Tel Aviv events and the city promises reinforced security coverage.
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.
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.
Following its practice in recent years, Ra'anana's Independence Day celebrations will be held in Park Ra'anana and there will be a special bus service to and from the park from 7:30 p.m. until 7 a.m. Rehov Derech Hapark will become a one-way street (from east to west) from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. There will be two main focal points: the amphitheater and the roller skating rink, as well as fireworks throughout the evening. Festivities in the main amphitheater will open with greetings from Mayor Nahum Hofree, followed by colorful performances by local dance schools and singers Harel Moyal, Lior Parhi and Idan Reichel and his band.
After the performances, at approximately midnight, the main stage will host a party for the city's youth, featuring Beit Habubot, Infectzia and Monica Sex, alongside local bands.
At the children's stage in the roller rink, Peninei Hasharon will host Yael Bar Zohar and there will be performances by the youth band from the city conservatory, school bands, the Efrochei Ra'anana dance troupe and prize-winning school ensembles from the 15th Children's Festival.
After 10 p.m., the roller rink will host Jewish soul music, folklore and the Envei Hagefen orchestra. After midnight (12:30 a.m.), the music will give way to Israeli and world folk dancing led by Avi Peretz.
On Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a variety of activities will be open to the public at the city's firing range, and the traditional dance parade will begin at 5 p.m. on Rehov Ahuza from Rambam-Hagalil to Brandeis-Tel Hai.
Ramat HaSharon will have five stages, with a range of performers including Beit Habubot, Lahakat Gaia, Pini Hada and Natty Levi, Ilana Avital and Yehuda Elias. Local talent featured will include ensembles from the municipal conservatory, music majors from Alon High School and ensembles from the Rimon music college. The youth stage will host performances in front of City Hall from 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Ramat Hasharon will also bring international festivities close to home with a Chinese circus and a Brazilian carnival. The festive offerings will be rounded out with fireworks, folk dancing and inflatable playground equipment for children.
In Herzliya, Independence Eve will feature fireworks and performances by Shiri Maimon, Stalos and Oren Chen, contestants from TV's Cohav Nolad ("A Star is Born") and the best local talent on the central stage in the Ben-Gurion pedestrian mall at the corner of Rehov Harav Kook, beginning at 8:45 on Tuesday evening.
After midnight, the stage will be turned over to young people with performances by Subliminal and the Shadow, and Tact Family. After the performances, Pm D.J. and Robert Gittleman will be keep teens dancing until the early morning hours. Sofi Tzedaka and Yaniv Angel will appear on the children's stage near the central bus station at 14 Rehov Ben-Gurion, starting at 9 p.m. A sing-along of Israeli songs, led by Motti Banias, hosting Sharon Rosenblatt, will begin at 10 p.m. in the garden of Beit Rishonim which will be designed like a cafe with seating around tables.
Along the Ben-Gurion pedestrian mall, there will be an arts and crafts fair offering a wide variety of paintings, sculpture glass works in jewelry, etc.
Festivities continue on Wednesday at noon with a maritime procession of naval ships and international yachts along the coast from the marina to Apollonia and back.
There will also be kayak races at Acadia South Beach from 9-10:30 a.m. The festivities will conclude with dancing led by Yaron Carmel at the Sportek roller rink from 7:00-11:00 p.m.
The 12th annual Rock Atzma'ut Festival will be held at two parallel locations this year, Amphipark in Rishon Lezion and Carmel Beach in Haifa. Featured performers including Aviv Gefen, Sheigetz and Monica Sex, will appear at both locations. Additional performers in Rishon include Ivri Leider, Beit Habubot, Machina, Metropolitan, Yoni Bloch and Infectzia. Hayehudim, Skazi, Hadag Nahash and Knesiyat Hasekhel will appear at Haifa. According to the walla! culture webpage, the performers were selected on the basis of a survey conducted among 3,000 teenagers in central Israel. Tickets cost NIS 149 with a NIS 10 discount for advance purchases.