Israel celebrates 65 years of independence

Israelis transitioned from sadness to jubilation Monday night as they ushered in its 65th anniversary of independence.

April 15, 2013 19:59
2 minute read.
Independence Day Ceremony.

Independence Day 2013 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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The annual torch-lighting ceremony at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl marked the end of Remembrance Day on Monday evening and touched off Israel's 65th Independence Day celebrations.

There were 14 torch lighters in this year's ceremony including Danny Shapira, formerly Israel’s chief test pilot, noted historian Muki Tsur, Orthodox feminist and philosophy scholar Tamar Ross and Beduin Achva Academic College president Elian Elkarnoy.

Members of Knesset in attendance included Leader of the Opposition Shelly Yacimovich, Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and Education Minister Shai Piron. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz was also present.

Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein gave the opening address of the ceremony and lit the first torch of the event. Edelstein emphasized the importance of civility in Israeli political discourse. Edelstein said "Even when we argue we should never desire the destruction of our opponent."

Armina Ashurov came to the ceremony from Netanya with her mother, niece and nephew. Ashurov made aliya from Azerbaijan 33 years ago when she was one years old with her parents. This is her first time coming to the ceremony. "I think that every year we pass in Israel is something special. We're still a young country and we're still learning from our mistakes," she said, adding she feels Israeli and not something else.

Following a day of ceremonies honoring Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terror attacks, Israelis began to celebrate the country's birthday.

Free outdoor concerts were set to be held in cities throughout the country on Monday evening.

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