Yom HaAtzmaut 2023: Israel turns 75

The Jewish state celebrated with a powerful display after tough months of political division


75 years since the establishment of the Jewish state, Israel celebrated its birthday with jubilant displays amidst rife political division.

Demonstrators rallied in Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli government's judicial overhaul bill, as the country began celebrations.

Alternative Independence Day observances were held in Tel Aviv as well as in several cities across the country.

Israelis flocked to parks, beaches, nature sites, and other open spaces for barbecues and other festivities on Wednesday as the country celebrated its 75th Independence Day.

Rabbi Leo Dee, who lost his wife and two of his daughters in a terror attack earlier this month, recited the Yizkor memorial prayer at Tuesday evening’s national ceremony at Mount Herzl, marking the transition from Memorial Day to Independence Day.

Flybys across the country featured over 100 aircraft.

Thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv for an Independence Day “protest party” as anti-government demonstrations continued.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for unity at the same time as opponents to his government’s hardline policies gathered outside the Jerusalem event.

The PM said miracles were "only possible when we march together".

Several hundred protesters also gathered outside the Mount Herzl ceremony.

In Tel Aviv, crowds gathered on Kaplan Street, waving Israeli flags and dancing to upbeat music.

“Israel is marking 75 years since its founding under a massive attack on Israeli democracy that is dividing the nation,” organisers said. “Against the attack are standing millions of Israelis who love our country and are not willing to give up on the smallest iota of democracy and equality.”

UK’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly also wished Israel a Happy 75th Birthday.

He said: "The strong ties between the UK and Israel over the past 75 years is a testament to the strength of our close and historic relationship.

"The UK and Israel stand together, defiant in the face of the malign influence of Iran in the region, and against the wider scourge of antisemitism.

I am happy to celebrate the significant milestone of Israel’s 75th birthday. Yom Ha’atzmaut Sameach!"

The Assuta Hospital in Ashdod released photos of newborn babies dressed in 75th anniversary onesies along with a statement reminding Israelis of the importance of remaining united for the sake of today’s children and future generations.

“Especially in such a challenging year full of disagreement within Israeli society, this is an important reminder that despite everything, we are one nation with a common past and a joint future. Our flag symbolises our inseverable connection to this land and our responsibility to stay united,” the hospital said.

The first aircraft participating in flybys took the skies Wednesday morning with a formation of transport and attack helicopters buzzing low over the capital and other planes heading for cities across the country.

This year, several foreign pilots joined in the flyover, which include an F-16 fighter jet from the United States and Eurofighter Typhoons from Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy, “as a sign of partnership between the countries and the unique relationship of the State of Israel with them,” the Israeli military said ahead of the celebrations.

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