Beit Hanassi goes global for Independence Day

A significant segment of the celebrations taking place at Beit Hanassi on Tuesday morning will be webcast from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Israel time.

Peres with flag 521 (do not publish again) (photo credit: Flash 90)
Peres with flag 521 (do not publish again)
(photo credit: Flash 90)
This year, thanks to modern technology, the whole world can join in Independence Day celebrations in Jerusalem.
President Shimon Peres decided that a significant segment of the celebrations taking place at Beit Hanassi on Tuesday morning will be webcast from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Israel time. The webcast is being distributed by the Ministry for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora.
The program includes a practice that was introduced last year and was so favorably received that it is getting an encore – albeit with a partial change of cast.
The morning celebration at Beit Hanassi always includes an air force flyby as well as the ceremony in which the President’s Prize for excellence is distributed to 120 outstanding soldiers from different branches of the IDF and from various units within those branches. There is also a parade by those soldiers.
The immediate families of the soldiers are invited, and for them the experience is both exciting and emotional. It is even more so for the parents of foreign-born lone soldiers who specially come to Israel for the occasion. Speeches are delivered by the president and the chief of General staff, followed by a response by one of the outstanding soldiers.
Interspersed with the formalities is entertainment by an IDF band and a group of soldier singers.
Last year, a new element enhanced the entertainment when the president, the prime minister, the defense minister and the chief of General Staff each chose his favorite song to sing with the IDF and the crowd gathered on the lawns of Beit Hanassi.
The songs were all related to the state’s independence and each of the dignitaries explained why he had chosen it and how it impacted on his personal history.
The singing this year will be even more vibrant with the addition of professional singers Miri Mesika, Harel Skaat, and Kobi Aflalo.
From the vast store of nostalgic Israeli songs, Peres chose “Hen Efshar” (Yes, it’s possible), which he will sing together with Mesika. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu chose “Yerushalayim shel Zahav” (Jerusalem of Gold), which he will sing with Aflalo, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak selected “Hinneini Kan” (Behold I’m Here), which he’ll sing with Skaat.

Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz opted to sing with the IDF entertainment troupe and will sing a medley of songs that are part of the Independence Day repertoire of most Israeli singalongs.
In addition to the webcast, the morning’s events will be broadcast live on Channels 1, 2, 9 and 10, Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet and Reshet Gimmel, Army Radio and Ynet.