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May 15, 2020 12:54 pm

Israeli Embassy in Washington Hosts Star-Studded Virtual Independence Day Party

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Israeli singer Shiri Maimon performing as part of the Israeli Embassy in Washington’s celebration of Independence Day. Photo: Screenshot.

The Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC, hosted on Thursday evening an “all-star” virtual celebration in honor of the country’s Independence Day.

More than 50,000 viewers from across the US tuned in for the event dubbed “#Israel72.” The idea behind the live broadcast was to celebrate 72 years of Israel’s independence in 72 minutes.

Various well-known Israeli and international figures joined in the celebrations, including Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Michael Douglas, Gene Simmons, Mayim Bialik, Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski), Sharon Stone, Julian Edelman, Kelsey Grammer, Perez Hilton and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, as well as Netflix’s “Fauda” actors Lior Raz and Rona-Lee Shimon.

During the broadcast there were also performances by famous Israeli artists such as Ivri Lider, Miri Mesika, David Broza, Marina Maximilian, Shiri Maimon, Ehud Banai and Nasrin Kadri.

Cooking lessons were hosted by Michael Solomonov, a James Beard Award-winning Israeli chef and restaurateur, and Adeena Sussman, author of the best-selling cookbook Sababa.

A special recorded tribute to American healthcare workers, made by their Israeli counterparts, was shown as part of the celebration, as well as a special tribute from the Israeli Defense Forces highlighting security cooperation with the US.

In a speech at the start of the event, Ambassador Ron Dermer said, “Here in the United States, Independence Day is also a time when Israel can express its gratitude for the powerful alliance between our two countries. We are grateful for decades of generous military assistance and missile defense cooperation. We are grateful for the economic support that helped Israel weather so many storms. We are grateful for all those times that America stood up for the truth, and rallied to Israel’s defense at the United Nations. And we are grateful that from President Truman to President Trump, the alliance between our two countries has grown stronger and stronger, decade after decade — and that today, our alliance is stronger than ever.”

The Embassy of Israel in Washington hosts a big celebratory gathering every year for Independence Day, but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person party was moved online.

“Just because you can’t come to an Israel celebration, doesn’t mean that an Israel celebration can’t come to you,” Dermer said. “We hope that during these difficult times, this broadcast will help lighten your mood and lift your spirits.”

The event can be watched in its entirety below:

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