Last Update 23:15
Saturday, 16 November 2019

Israel's leaders praise troops on Independence Day

Marking Israel's 63rd Independence Day, Netanyahu calls his country a "model" in the global fight against terrorism

AP , Tuesday 10 May 2011
Views: 947
Views: 947

Israeli leaders gathered with soldiers Tuesday to mark the country's 63rd Independence Day, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling Israel a model in the global fight against terrorism.

Netanyahu praised the country's troops at an awards ceremony for exemplary soldiers, sitting alongside President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and new Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz. They joked, sang traditional Hebrew songs with Israeli pop stars and shared personal memories of the wars Israel has fought in its short but tumultuous history.

Netanyahu said a legendary 1976 Israeli army rescue of hostages in Entebbe, Uganda _ in which his brother was killed _ was a difficult day for him personally but represented a watershed moment in the worldwide fight against terrorism.

"Israel changed the attitude about what is possible," Netanyahu said. "The Israel Defense Forces are extraordinary." Octogenarian politican Peres reminisced about Israel's 1948 war for independence.

"I remember the first day of the war we didn't have anything," said Peres. "Today Israel is a small but exemplary and wonderful stronghold." Beaches and parks were filled with throngs of Israelis celebrating the holiday with barbeques. Military bases were open to visitors, and the Israeli air force planned flybys over much of the country as part of the festivities.

The country uses the occasion to award the Israel Prize, a prestigious recognition to top minds in the fields of entertainment and academia. Israel also was holding its annual Bible Quiz, in which young Jewish scholars from around the world compete in the presence of the prime minister.

While Independence Day is a joyful celebration in Israel, Palestinians will mark it next week with a day of mourning.

They call the creation of Israel the "Naqba," Arabic for catastrophe, because it resulted in hundreds of thousands of refugees, lost land and houses _ issues that plague would-be Mideast peacemakers to this day.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.