Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation in a televised speech on Tuesday evening as Israel closed out Remembrance Day and began celebrating its 75th Independence Day.
Israel celebrates its independence annually on the fifth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, immediately following Remembrance Day on the fourth. This year, Remembrance Day began on the evening of April 24th and Independence Day began on the evening of the 25th.
"Dear citizens of Israel," Netanyahu began, "the sharp transition from Remembrance Day to Independence Day is like the birth of the country, which brings both comfort and joy.
"Thanks to the [sacrifices of] our fallen, we can all celebrate now as a free people in our country. For 75 years we have been doing this, as brothers and sisters.
"Just as the Zionist pioneers sang:
"'Look, brothers, look! Let us hasten our step - Fly, brothers, flyTo the land of our inheritance!'
"We are brothers," the prime minister said, likely referencing the recent domestic tensions sparked by the government's judicial reforms. "We don't always agree on everything; sometimes we argue passionately. But the mutual guarantee [of brotherhood] between us is strong."
"We are building [up] the strength of our country together, one level at a time," he continued.
"This is the true meaning of independence - to be rooted in the soil. To be responsible for our destiny. To establish a strong defense force to repel the threats of our enemies. To foster a magnificent [society], a thriving economy, advanced technology and diverse culture. To bring peace with the Arab nations.
"We brought historic peace agreements [in the past], and with God's help, we will further expand the circle of peace.
"On Independence Day, we all unite around the Israeli flag, with a sense of pride for what we have achieved.
"At the same time, let's look ahead: We have a lot more to accomplish together. We have a lot to do to establish our beloved country. As a rising world power and as the eternal homeland of the people of Israel.
"Happy Independence Day, Israel!"
The prime minister also kicked off the nation's annual Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony with a second short video celebrating Israel's many achievements and calling for peace among citizens who disagree politically.
"Let's stop all of the commotion for a moment," Netanyahu said in his video. "As one nation, we rose from the ashes of the Holocaust to the peak of revival. As one nation, we won Israel's wars. As one nation, we absorbed millions of Olim."
Netanyahu listed the various peace agreements Israel made over the decades, and highlighted Israel's rapid infrastructural growth since its birth.
The prime minister's independence day speaking engagements
The prime minister was set to speak at the JFNA's General Assembly at the Expo Tel Aviv convention center in Jerusalem on Sunday in honor of the nation's 75th Independence day, but ultimately canceled his speaking engagement.
This was presumably because of the huge protests planned inside and outside of the convention center.
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has informed us that he is not able to appear at tonight’s event sponsored by Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Hayesod, and the World Zionist Organization celebrating the last 75 years of our communities’ investment and support in the state of Israel’s growth and development," the organizers of the event sent to the participants.
Zvika Klein contributed to this report.