About 4,000 Jeiwsh people from various countries gathered for the Orthodox Union's (OU) celebration of Israel's 75th Independence Day at Jerusalem's Liberty Bell Park this evening (Tuesday).
The evening prayer was held at the start of the event, led by Israeli singer Shlomo Katz. At the end of the prayers, a shofar (ram's horn) was blown, after which the festivities kicked off in earnest, with music and dancing.
OU Israel Director Rabbi Avi Berman said: "We had Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) today, thanking our soldiers, thanking our civilians that gave their lives for this incredible state. We're here thanking God for the incredible miracle that's called the State of Israel, that's leading the world in everything; where we see the prophecies coming to fruition, where we see the Jewish people gathering together in the land of Israel. It's our chance to say thank you, thank you, thank you God."
OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer said: "I'm privileged to be here at this outstanding gathering of thousands [of people] who have lived the dream and come and moved to make aliya, to live in eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel), the gift and opportunity of our times, and together with them, thousands more who are visiting and coming to take a chance to recognize and appreciate the miracle of our times: the gift to be here in eretz Yisrael. We can't turn away, we can't avoid for a moment looking at that gift and appreciating it. It's so precious, especially in this different time. We can't let go."
Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Aryeh King, who attended the event, said: "What a tremendous power there is in the prayer in which many Jews from around the world participate in the Independence Day celebrations here in the holy city of Jerusalem, in addition to many celebratory prayers initiated by the municipality. It is exciting to see the love and loyalty to the Land of Israel and Jerusalem in all its manifestations, expressed with all of one's heart. The State of Israel is still in its infancy, 75 years is like nothing in the annals of history, and yet we have made tremendous achievements."