President Reuven Rivlin hosted “All Israel From Jerusalem” and the traditional ceremony honoring 120 outstanding IDF soldiers for the fifth time from the gardens of Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem. Israel’s 71st Independence Day, Thursday 9 May / 4 Iyyar, was attended Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Aviv Kochavi and current and former members of the IDF General Staff.

The morning began with a fly-past in honor of the outstanding soldiers, who represent all branches of the IDF. The lead pilot of the fly-pass greeted the president and the soldiers as he flew over Beit HaNasi, saying “Mr President, Chief of Staff, we the pilots of the Israel Air Force greet you on behalf of the Israel Defense Forces with our best wishes for a Yom Haatzmaut Sameach – Happy Independence Day.” The president replied, saluting: “on behalf of the people of Israel I wish you Yom Haatzmaut Sameach – to you, the pilots of the IAF, soldiers of the IDF and their commanders in the air, on land and on the sea. Happy Independence Day, Israel!”

Immediately after the fly-past, the president and chief of staff reviewed and honor guard of the 120 outstanding solders, who were chosen on the recommendation of their commanders to receive the President’s Award for Excellence for their service and outstanding contribution to the IDF and the State of Israel.

Following the honor guard, the “All Israel from Jerusalem” event will be held on the lawns of Beit HaNasi – a festive salute to the spirit of Israel for Independence Day with songs and dancers from all across the country. During the event, a special video filmed with singer Boaz Sharabi and dozens of choirs and singing groups from across the country, kindergartners, gymnastic groups and dancers. Hundreds of people, a human mosaic of Israeli society, sang the song “Halevai / If Only”, composed by Boaz Sharabi with words by Ehud Manor.

credit: חיים צח / לע"מ
credit: חיים צח / לע"מ
credit: חיים צח / לע"מ