Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Israel celebrates 64th Independence Day

Israelis look at fireworks in the coastal city of Netanya on April 25, 2012 as the country marks its 64th anniversary of independence. Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared the existence of the State of Israel in Tel Aviv in 1948, ending the British mandate. (Getty Images)
(JPost) An annual torch-lighting ceremony was being held at Israel's capital on Wednesday, marking the end of Remembrance Day. The end of the ceremony will touch off Independence Day celebrations across the country.

The official theme of this year's Independence Day ceremony at Mount Herzl was “Water – The Source of Life.” Participants, chosen by a public committee within the Israel National Ceremony Center, were lighting 12 torches, representing the 12 tribes of the Jewish nation.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, the opening speaker at the ceremony, said that the state of Israel should not be taken for granted. "I was nine years old when the State of Israel was born," he said. "I know that the state is not something which should be taken for granted. The flag that flies here should not be taken for granted."

Rivlin also spoke of the great advances Israel has made in the past year, from the military realm to the social. Rivlin also referenced Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli agent jailed for spying in the United States, saying he expects the US authorities to release him soon.