Ireland’s Israeli Ambassador Zion Evrony told the 150 guests at a celebratory reception in Dublin that despite Israel’s impressive achievements, what it wanted most was peace with its neighbours. However, the difficulties entailed were illustrated by a group of Palestinian supporters who heckled participants as they arrived at the venue. Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan was among the 350 guests at the Israel 60 celebrations at Cardiff’s City Hall.
The event incorporated a memorial to Cardiff Synagogue member and dedicated Zionist Roger Harris, who died in August. Newcastle’s Yom Atzmaut party had a sporting flavour, being staged in a marquee at South Northumberland Cricket Club. The 220 crowd heard a message from the Mayor of Haifa, which is twinned with Newcastle, and there was music from the Yiddish Song Project.
In Bristol, a community party brought together the city’s Orthodox and Progressive synagogues, Wizo, Bristol University students and a number of Israelis living locally. The 100-plus gathering was fed by two Jewish-owned catering firms and the music was klezmer. Over £500 was raised for Wizo youth projects.
More than 300 people joined Birmingham’s celebrations, which included dancing, a quiz and information stalls. Pupils from the King David School led guests on a “tour” of the wonders of Israel. JLGB, Bnei Akiva and FZY members also contributed to the entertainment. Southend’s festivities at the Annie Myers Hall raised £1,750 for Israeli war disabled and a special kiddush was catered on Shabbat by the Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation ladies’ guild. An Israel at 60 banquet was held for 130 at Nottingham’s Council House under the auspices of the East Midlands Jewish Representative Council.
Reminiscences were shared by people with first-hand knowledge of Israel. Wizo members provided an Israeli buffet for the party at Reading’s Gollancz Hall, where numbers were swelled by members of the Jewish society at Reading University. Kuzna Jackson was the star of the Harlow community festivities, preparing a three-course feast for guests at the synagogue, which was decorated with Israeli flags. Hastings and District Jewish Society’s birthday party was part of its monthly Friday night service.
The Portsmouth and Southsea Hebrew Congregation celebration included the screening of the Kirk Douglas movie, Cast A Giant Shadow, a bio-pic of an American soldier who aided Israel’s fight for statehood. Singer and comedian David Apfel entertained the 70 guests at the Sheffield Yom Atzmaut party.
Oxford-born TV producer Dan Patterson led a singalong of Israeli folk favourites at the celebration hosted by Oxford Wizo. Other musical and comedic contributions were provided by the OxfordShir choir, Gidon and Tal Fineman, Renee Aronson and Lizzie Maisels.