Israel finally flies the flag over Bury

Around 100 people gathered to witness the first time an Israeli flag was raised over Bury Town Hall to mark Yom Ha'atzmaut, and it appears the event could occur annually.

The ceremony, on Tuesday, took place after it was first controversially refused by Bury Council in March, but agreed upon after it was pointed out that the Pakistani flag flew on its independence day. The then leader of the council, Tory Bob Bibby, called for a review of Bury's flag policy.

He indicated it was likely that only British flags would be flown in future.

But a political shift after last Thursday's local elections led to a pledge by the new council leader to fly Israel's flag. Labour took control of Bury Council by one seat in the nation's closest election contest, finally decided by the drawing of straws after three recounts.

After Monday's flag ceremony, new council leader Mike Connolly said he was proud of the Jewish community in his borough, adding: "I hope this could become an annual event in the calendar. Bury, like Israel, is a multicultural place and it's right and proper to celebrate that."

Northern Israel Information Centre director Doreen Gerson said: "I hope we can twin Bury with an Israeli town in the near future."

Last updated: 9:56am, May 13 2011