Monday, June 23, 2008

Israel at 60: Yom Haatzmaut visit in review.

Following the sadness of Yom Hazikaron, on Erev Yom Haatzamaut (evening before), the festivities erupted in most municipalities of Israel. We were in Tel Aviv and went in search of the advertised events in various locations in central Tel Aviv. We found it eventually in Rabin Square.

We had a wonderful Yom Haatzamaut there,- a terrific concert in Rabin square with unbelievable fireworks and laser display for tens of thousands of people.
The next day at 1pm, right in front of our hotel on the beach was the naval and airforce display, which unfortunately finished with a tragic accident for a paratrooper and several spectators due to a sudden gust of wind.

An Australian journalist friend was using our hotel suite in between her TV on-air presentations for a French news channel (in English) and she tried to get us up on the media balcony for a better view- but that didn't quite work! Instead we had a good position on the boardwalk and saw it all very well in spite of the 300,000 estimated throng along the foreshore.

We saw a rescue helicopter display lifting someone from the sea, plus much, much more. Hundreds of private sailing boats with white sails floated along the foreshore,- their white sails set against the dark blue Mediterranean making a beautiful picture.

This was repeated all day all along the Israeli coastline for the benefit of all the coastal communities.

Afterwards some Melbourne friends picked us up for a traditional Yom Haatzamaut barbq lunch at their son's elegant home, - sitting on the terrace by the pool,- so now we can truly say that we celebrated the way the Israelis do (though most far less elegantly in picnic areas or on the beaches!).

The weather was brilliant and it was all very exciting and moving to be there for such an occasion.

Sadly, exactly 60 years ago, another people could have also accepted the same UN Partition plan and they too could have been celebrating their 60th Independence Day in their own State. The Palestinian Arab people were never independent, had never experienced nationhood and were duped by their fellow Arabs to reject the UN Plan and follow the path of war and terrorism instead. For what purpose? 60years down the track, where has it led them?

In spite of these rejectionists, Israel has developed into a modern nation with a booming economy in the short span of 60 years.
I salute them! May God grant them a bright and peaceful future in amicable coexistence with their neighbours.

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