Flyover Celebrates Israel’s Independence Amid a Return to Normality
Military jets and helicopters flew in formation over Israel on Thursday as the country marked its independence day freer of coronavirus restrictions than a year ago.
The customary barbecue and beach holiday celebrations were back in evidence for families who were locked down under a mandatory curfew in 2020.
In a video address Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promoted Israel’s diplomatic and medical achievements over the past year.
He singled out the COVID-19 inoculation rollout, with more than half of Israelis fully vaccinated, although the country is still short of the sought-after “herd immunity.”
“Many restrictions that we were compelled to impose last year have been lifted. Life is returning to normal, the economy is growing again,” Netanyahu said.
The celebrations for the 73rd anniversary of Israel’s 1948 independence provided a moment of national unity for a polarized and exhausted Israeli electorate less than a month after a fourth inconclusive election in two years.
Netanyahu has been given the first go at assembling a ruling coalition, but amid the unprecedented political stalemate a fifth election is possible.
The celebrations began late on Wednesday during the back-to-back Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays.
They included flag-waving Israeli soldiers marching in formation to form the number 73, a Star of David and a syringe.
Ahead of Independence Day, the Central Bureau of Statistics issued updated population figures of 9.327 million, of which 6.894 million (73.9%) are Jewish and 1.966 million (21.1%) Arab, with 5% “other.”