Peres kicks off Independence Day with ceremony honoring outstanding soldiers (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By GREG TEPPER and YOEL GOLDMAN 04/26/12)
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64 heritage sites open on Thursday; Israeli weaponry on display in
IDF bases throughout the country
Daytime celebrations in honor of Independence Day officially began at
9:30 on Thursday morning with a ceremony at the President’s Residence
in Jerusalem. VIPs and political leaders were in attendance at the
ceremony, which was broadcast live on the president’s Facebook page.
A flyover of combat planes and helicopters started off the
festivities. The president, IDF chief of staff, prime minister and
defense minister sang their favorite Independence Day songs with the
IDF band and an accompaniment of singers. What the men lacked in
singing ability, they certainly made up for in spirit.
The guests of honor were joined onstage by 120 outstanding IDF
soldiers, who were presented with awards.
In his remarks to the crowd, President Shimon Peres said “Israel is
stronger than ever,” and commended the IDF, its soldiers, officers
and leader, Benny Gantz. The IDF chief, for his part, saluted the
assembly of outstanding soldiers who were seated behind him, and
said, “Remember, as you leave the stage and go back to your units,
that your peers are looking up to you.”
The IDF was hosting events at bases and other sites throughout the
country on Thursday. In addition, sixty-four heritage sites were open
to the public.
For those who enjoy checking out armored vehicles and weaponry, Camp
Samson, near the Golani Junction, is open to the public between 9:00
The Shomron Brigade base (Horon) is open from 9:00 to 16:00. Armored
vehicles, weaponry and observation posts will be on exhibit.
Paintball ranges and additional attractions for children will
Natan Camp in Beersheba and Metzudat Yoav were open with similar
exhibits of armored vehicles and weaponry from 9:00 to 14:00.
If tanks are on the agenda, Yad LaShirion at Latrun is open from 8:00
to 16:00 with a ground forces exhibition including armor, artillery,
infantry and other military displays. Hummers, assault and sniper
rifles and more are on display along with IDF combat soldier
The IAF base at Ramat David and the Technion – Israel Institute of
Technology in Haifa were open to the public from 9:00 to 13:00. Past
and present aircraft and weapons were on display.
The IAF Museum in Hatzerim is open from 9:00 to 17:00. Airplanes from
the 1950s will flyover, a band will perform and 150 different
aircraft are on display with tours in English, Spanish, Russian and
No personal weapons nor pets are allowed on IDF bases. ID must be
presented to enter the bases. Two-wheel vehicles will not be allowed
Those looking for a more historically themed way of celebrating can
check out the (Hebrew) website for the Society for Preservation of
Israel Heritage Sites. The society offers listings for museums and
activities throughout the South, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Center
and the North.
Details for a number of activities are available at IsraelKids‘
family resource page.
The following activities were also scheduled for Thursday:
The Lehi Museum hosts free activities at 10:30, 12:00, 13:30 and
15:00, all in Hebrew.
At 17:00 an interactive dance and music performance takes place in
the Jerusalem Theater plaza, Jerusalem. Cost: NIS 15.
At 10:00, 12:00 and 17:00, at Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem, there
is a theatrical performance of the story of Chelm and Eastern
European Jewish folklore. Cost: NIS 10.
Israel Kids: The public was invited to take part in tours, song and
sing along with Sarale Sharone at the Bible Lands Museum in
Jerusalem, 11:30; Hebrew. Cost: N/A.
Music, food, dance and BBQ will all be at the Yellow Submarine in
Talpiot, Jerusalem, for kids and adults; Hebrew. Cost: NIS 10.
The Israel Museum has free dancing from 11:00 – 14:00. The dancing
will be led by Mimi Kogan and performance by Hora Jerusalem.
More listings are available at the Israel Kids website.
Finally, for those without families and in the military, there are
two massive BBQs for over 300 lone soldiers at Jerusalem’s Gan Sacher
park and 200 lone soldiers are expected at Tel Aviv’s Arlozorov Park
(corner of Derek Namir).
The Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin is hosting the
event. The event will cater to the 2300 lone soldiers from 52
countries who reside in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, from 11:00 to 16:00
Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report. (© 2012 THE TIMES
OF ISRAEL 04/26/12)
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