Independence Day followed Memorial Day in Israel for the country’s fallen soldiers and terror victims.
The juxtaposition of Memorial Day and Independence Day is a key element of Israelis’ experience of their country’s anniversary, ensuring that no commemoration completely excludes the sacrifice of the fallen and their families.
The main ceremony took place on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, as well as Knesset members, were in attendance. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein spoke at the ceremony and lit the first torch.
The ceremony involved the lighting of twelve torches (representing the twelve tribes of the people of Israel) lit by Israelis and diaspora Jews considered to have made an outstanding contribution to society.
Ambassador of Israel H.E. Mark Regev said: Israel is celebrating our 71st Independence Day and we have achieved so much over the last seven decades, and those achievements give me confidence and optimism as we look into the future. I see Israel’s economy growing and growing, I see us building stronger relationships with countries across the planet, and especially with countries in the region. Here I see a growing partnership between Israel and the UK – a partnership that is always getting stronger”.