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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

How Hamas Helped Yom Ha’atzmaut Fun!

For the first time anyone I know can remember, there was a religious dimension to this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations in Karmiel, Israel.

KYH.01Instead of one large party at the major amphitheatre – as had long been customary - festivities took place at three separate spots in town. They included the ‘Quarry Park’ where Yom Hazikaron – Remembrance Day activities segued neatly into Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations with a formal ceremony leading into festive prayers for Yom Ha’atzmaut – Independence Day.

The formalities were both polished and uplifting but I was not  the only woman present to feel excluded and irrelevant when the Orthodox men present leapt onto the podium to dance. I soon grew bored and irritable and so moved into town to join the throngs of excited secular revellers.

I appreciate that the municipality probably wanted to try something new for this, Karmiel’s 50th anniversary year and that local restaurants and other places of entertainment hoped town-centre action would prove good for business. However, I suggest that the ‘religious’ bit backfired and perhaps needs a re-think for next year.

But recriminations aside, it was a great chance for the different local congregations to join forces as shown by this shot of Rabbi Ephraim from the Ethiopian Congregation with Rabbi Mijael Even-David of the  Kehillat Hakerem Masorti Congregation. Rabbi.Ephraim.Rabbi.MijaelThe picture was taken by Mexican olah (émigrée) Simcha Hoffman

YOM.HAATZMAUT.2014Meanwhile, as internet giant, Google gladdened our hearts with its festive homepage picture,  our  neighbours from Hamas released a spoof video clip showing Arabs expelling Jews to Germany.

Pro-Israel blogger, Elder of Ziyon explained that the Al Qassam Brigades’ fantasy clip - The End of the Hope - is set to the tune of Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem  and depicts a rock thrower destroying Israel while masked Hamas terrorists force Jews onto ships sailing to  Germany.

But before our enforced departure(!), some members of Kehillat Hakerem Congregation rounded off festivities with  a three-part trip into the verdant, wooded hills near the Lebanon border. There we viewed the Keshet (‘Rainbow’) Cave before driving on to Kibbutz Hanita to see the historic tower and stockade. The final stop was at the  Achziv Bridge Memorial, the resting place of 14 Palmach men killed during  the Achziv Bridges' Operation in June 1946.


© Natalie Wood (07 May 2014)

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