The Yom Haatzmaut broadcast went out this morning, Wednesday 29 April / 5 Iyyar, from Beit HaNasi in a special format because of the restrictions on movement to fight the outbreak of coronavirus, and focused on saluting the security and rescue forces.
The highlight of the ceremony at Beit HaNasi each year are the outstanding soldiers recognized by the president, who hold countless rehearsals for many months. This time, the ceremony was not held and the soldiers have been asked to wait until they can receive the treasured presidential award.
Instead of honoring the outstanding soldiers, the celebrations at Beit HaNasi were held in the spirit of the times, with no audience, no invitees and no band, but with President Rivlin, the IDF Chief of Staff and officers and with plenty of singing and entertainment.
was hosted, for the third time, by Rotem Abuav with skits about the current situation and particularly about how the kids have been home for so long.
During the broadcast, there was a video showing the highlights of the traditional ceremony in the past, along with footage of the security forces and medical teams at work now. The clip was accompanied by Yoni Rechter on the piano of Beit HaNasi, playing “Shir shel Haaretz / Song of the Country” in tribute to the security and rescue forces.
Comedians Itzik Cohen, Shani Cohen, Avi Nussbaum and Tal Friedman answered the question “are there any Israelis here?” by speaking about uniquely Israeli characteristics, and Idan Amedi led a new arrangement of “Shir HaShayara / Song of the Convoy” together with President Rivlin and hundreds of Israelis who recorded themselves at home during the shutdown.
In the culinary sphere, chefs Carine Goren, Miki Shhemo and Michal Ansky created Israel’s fines meal in memory of Nechama Rivlin ז”ל and comedian Tzipi Shavit, who lit one of the torches at last night’s ceremony, performed a special skit from Beit HaNasi about the crazy days of lockdown.
Gila Almagor, Rabbi Haim Druckman, Efram Halevy, Miriam Zohar, Levana Zamir, Yaakov Hajaj Lilouf, Yaakov (Ketzale) Katz, Avihu Medina, Yehuda Samberg, Leah Koenig, Amnon Rubenstein and Sarale Sharon spoke about celebrating Yom Haatzmaut as ‘golden oldies’ and shared childhood memories fro the early years of the state.
The ceremony closed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra playing Hatikva, conducted by President Rivlin himself.
included a special greeting by President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, in which he said:“It’s now, when we have to stay apart, that we realize just how much stronger the bonds that hold us together are than anything that divides us. In Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak, In Jerusalem and Deir al-Asad, in Tiberias and Or Yehuda, in Beer Sheva, Beit Shemes and across the country, we are all genuinely trying to pave a path of respect and comradeship for each other. To reach out a hand, or an elbow for the time being. To build bridges and trust. To insist on our ability to live together, all parts of Israeli society.”
The president thanked “the medical teams who are on the front line of fighting the virus and putting their own lives on the line, day and night, to give medical care to all Israelis, the welfare workers and volunteers across the whole country, who are making sure that those who are in isolation are not alone. And of course, the IDF, the police, the rescue forces, the intelligence people who unhesitatingly joined the national effort, alongside their regular duties, to fight the virus.”
The president spoke
to the Israeli people, saying “Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for your resilience. Thank you for simply being yourselves. I wish us all a happy and healthy year in which we can enjoy every moment of Israeli normality that we all miss so much. We have no other country. We have no other people. There is no one like you. Chag Atzmaut Sameach, Israel!”
On the morning of Yom Haatzmaut, four aircraft of the IAF performed a fly-by in tribute to medical teams. The lead pilot of the fly-by congratulated the president, the medical teams and all Israelis over the radio, saying “Mr President, IDF Chief of Staff, we the pilots of the Israeli Air Force wish you Chag Atzmaut Sameach on behalf of the Israel Defense Forces.” The president replied, “we salute you, defenders of the borders of Israel. Thank you for the fly-by and for your moving tribute. On behalf of all Israelis, we thank the medical and rescue teams who take care of us with boundless devotion. Fly high! Chag Atzmaut Sameach, soldiers and officers of the IDF! Happy Independence Day, Israel!”
Attached photo credit: Haim Zach (GPO)