April 19, 2018

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Israel remembered her fallen – Then celebrates their victory

On Wednesday (18th), air raid sirens blared across the Land of Israel to call to remembrance the 23,646 soldiers and 3,134 terror victims who fell in Israel’s wars and during various attacks.

Nearly every Israeli stopped whatever he or she was doing and stood solemnly as the two-minute siren wailed.

And, just as every year, the tremendous sadness felt across Israel on Memorial Day gave birth at the end of the day (18th) to explosive celebrations as Israel began to enjoy the victory that their sacrifices made possible.

Thus began the 70th Independence Day celebrations!



Torch-lighting ceremony opens 70th Independence celebrations

The State of Israel launched its 70th Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday evening (18th) with a torch-lighting ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

The ceremony was the biggest and most expensive in Israel’s history.  It featured 1,500 participants, 150 musicians, 400 choir singers, 350 dancers and hundreds of flag-bearers.

The audience numbered over 6,500 people, almost twice as many as past torch-lighting ceremonies.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lit a torch on behalf of Israel’s governments throughout its 70 years and delivered a short speech.



Trump in message to Israel: ‘We have no better friends, looking forward to embassy move’

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted a greeting to Israel in honor of its 70th Independence Day, in which he said:

“Best wishes to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all the people of Israel on the 70th Anniversary of your Great Independence.  We have no better friends anywhere.”

“Looking forward to moving our Embassy to Jerusalem next month,” the President added.

(jpost.com; ynetnews.com)


Court rules chanting ‘Nation of Israel Lives’ (Am Yisrael Chai) permitted on Temple Mount

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court ruled on Monday (16th) that it is permitted for visitors to the Temple Mount to yell out “Am Yisrael Chai” (The nation of Israel lives) because it is a patriotic declaration, rather than a prayer.

Following Muslim opposition and in accordance with court rulings, Jews are barred from praying on the Temple Mount.

(worldisraelnews.com; jns.org)


Israel at 70 inspires the world, and the people of Israel inspire me – Reuven Rivlin

Reuven Rivlin wrote a piece in the Times of Israel for Israel’s 70th Independence Day, saying in part:

“I want to start by wishing you all a very happy Independence Day.  As I have said clearly, I believe that Israel’s special milestone is a celebration for the whole world.  Because today, we are not just marking the dream of restoring Jewish independence in our ancestral homeland, and we are not just celebrating all the great achievements of the last 70 years.  Today, we celebrate 70 years of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. For seven decades, Israel has held high the torch of freedom and democracy in a difficult region. Surrounded by enemies and against all odds, we have been – and continue to be- guided by these values as the world’s only Jewish and democratic state.”

“But we know that we could never have done all this without our friends, both Jews and non-Jews, all around the world, who have dedicated their lives to building the State of Israel.  We are grateful today especially for all those who stand up for Israel every day.”



Poll: 82% of Israelis proud of Israel – 50% fear war

According to a new poll by Ma’Ariv, it was found that 82% of Israelis are proud of their country on Israel’s 70th birthday.  However the poll showed that 50% of those polled fear that war is approaching.



Israeli flag sales are up for 70th Independence day – Almog Ben Zikri

Israel’s flag manufacturers, importers and retail chains are reporting that their stocks have run out, with flags selling at a dizzying rate for the 70th Independence Day celebrations.



40 UN ambassadors in Israel for 70th anniversary celebrations

Forty ambassadors to the United Nations, representing a quarter of the countries with diplomatic ties to Israel, are in Israel this week as the country celebrates its 70th anniversary.

Organized by the American Zionist Movement, the delegation of diplomats hail from Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America.  They are meeting government officials, touring historical, religious and strategic sites, and participating in events to commemorate Israel’s Independence Day.



As Westerners grow unsure of their identities, Israelis are confident of theirs – Evelyn Gordon

90% of Israelis define themselves as Zionist.  Zionism is simply the belief that the Jewish people has a right to its own state, and that a Jewish state therefore ought to exist.

This has enabled Israel to escape one of the modern West’s besetting ills.  In a world where elite opinion scorns both religion and the nation-state as anachronistic but has failed to provide any compelling source of identity to replace them, many Westerners have grown increasingly unsure of their identities.

Israelis, in contrast, are very confident of their identity: They are Jews living in the world’s only Jewish state.  This is the state created precisely so that all Jews, anywhere, will always have a home.

While a January 2017 poll headlined “Six in ten around the world think their society is ‘broken,’” it’s difficult for most Israelis to feel that way when, against all odds, Israel has not only successfully maintained the first Jewish state in two millennia, but also turned it, in 70 short years, into one of the world’s most thriving countries.

Thus, despite arguing bitterly over what policies their country should pursue and complaining endlessly about its many shortcomings, Israelis are overwhelmingly glad that a Jewish state exists, and are committed to both preserving and improving it.  And that’s why most will be celebrating Israel’s Independence day.



Bomb found at West Bank checkpoint – Palestinian suspect arrested

A Palestinian man was arrested Wednesday afternoon (18th) after border police found a bomb planted in his truck at the Reihan crossing near Jenin in the West Bank , according to a Defense Ministry statement.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a statement on the incident and its connection to Israel’s Independence Day saying, “The vigilance and professionalism of the crossing authorities at the Defense Ministry led to the discovery of a bomb and the thwarting of a major attack as Israel’s Independence Day approached – we will punish the scoundrels who planned to harm our holiday.”

(jpost.com; reuters.com)