|Declaration of Independence|
Israel has only one day annually that is celebrated without any religious constraints or “mitzvot”. This is a day that secular and religious Israelis celebrate as well as those who identify with Israel and its people.
The Israeli Arab Citizens do not celebrate. There are no flags or symbols of celebration in their villages. It is a great pity that the two peoples - Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens are divided in their respective narratives causing the Israeli Arab sector not to celebrate Israel’s independence. Here in Israel, we have failed to achieve a common loyalty in Israel for all its citizens - Jew and Arab alike. It could have been achieved but Israel has failed to be the state of all its citizens for a number of reasons. The most striking, perhaps, is the non-inclusive character of Israel’s Jewish majority. An example of this is the non-inclusive wording of Israel’s National Anthem “Hatikva” - The Hope.
The wording of Hatikva could be modified to include Israel’s non-Jewish minority symbols of culture without changing the wording of Jewish desires and hopes. This could go a long way in promoting a common patriotism that is all-inclusive. This could also be done through education from an early age as well as encouraging the establishment of integrated Jewish-Arab schools, where education in unity among all Israel’s peoples could be achieved.
|Culture Minister Miri Regev unveils the logo for Israel's 70th-anniversary celebrations, during a press conference on January 15, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)|
Israel’s 70 years of independence should be a nation-wide non-political affair that is inclusive of all Israeli citizens. The person in charge of all the festivities and ceremonial protocols this year is the divisive and controversial Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev. She is turning the 70th Independence Day celebration into a “Likudiada” political affair with her own agenda taking preference. She is punting so hard for PM Netanyahu’s survival in the midst of all criminal investigations against him by the police.
Regev’s invitation of the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, to light the annual torch, is a disgrace in itself apart from going against protocol, in order for PM Netanyahu to be also one of the participants as well as being given an opportunity to make a speech rather than the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, as is the annual Independence Day tradition. President Hernandez is suspected of corruption as well as being an abuser of human rights. However, Hernandez is a strong supporter of Israel and has pledged to move the Honduras Embassy to Jerusalem.
|Hatikva - Israel's National Anthem|
Hernandez declined the invitation because of opposition in Israel. We must remember that Regev’s idea of democracy is her right to do what she wishes as her party is the majority party in power and this means that those who oppose her and her party are leftists and traitors to Israel. After all, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East as Israel’s rulers and its pundits claim. Others in Regev’s view are an obstacle to her agenda and are deserving of condemnation. She has megalomaniac tendencies that are divisive, racist and a total disregard for those who do not share her worldview and agenda. She is no democrat and does not even know the meaning of democracy. In fact, she makes no bones about her Moroccan roots at every opportunity that she regards as all-embracing and superior to other cultures that form Israel’s character. The whole 70th Independence ceremony became a storm in a teacup. Eventually, a compromise was made that satisfied the Likud and its shenanigans.
It is a great pity that this year’s Independence Day celebrations will have a right-wing political slant to it which will, unfortunately, spoil its non-political nature.