Mourning and remembrance turned to celebration as Israel observed its 68th Independence Day, Yom HaAtzmaut in Hebrew. The Times of Israel shares this video of the special day's ceremony, which brought together PM Netanyahu, President Rivlin, and many of the Jewish state's leaders and heroes:
President Reuven Rivlin hosted the annual Independence Day ceremony at his official residence Thursday morning to award the army’s annual citations for distinguished service to 120 soldiers, as the prime minister promised that peace will eventually come and suggested reviving annual military parades in the capital.
The event began at 9:30 a.m. and was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Former president Shimon Peres was also present at the event.
During the event, the four leaders discussed their fond childhood memories of Independence Day, with Netanyahu recalling the military parades once held every year in the capital.
“I have a suggestion,” Netanyahu said. “Let’s bring back the military marches on Independence Day.”
Netanyahu also said he believed Israel would eventually be able to make peace with its regional neighbors: “We will reach reconciliation with our neighbors,” on the basis of “our strength,” he predicted. Until that day, he added, one of Israel’s most exceptional achievements was its capacity “to defend ourselves, by ourselves” against all threats.
Rivlin, in his remarks, said Israel “has had its crises, and perhaps there will be others.”
“Every generation has its challenges, but each has triumphed, with dignity. [Israel] is strong, robust, and solid — and is only getting better,” the president added.