Israel to celebrate its Independence Day
By Philip Iglauer
The Israeli Embassy here will celebrate the Jewish State’s 64th Independence Day and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of
Korea-Israeli relations, May 3.
Called “Yom Ha'atzmaut” in Hebrew, Israel’s Independence Day is observed on the 5th of Iyar on the Jewish calendar, which is April 26 this year.
“We are proud of what we have achieved in a short time,” Israeli Ambassador to Korea Tuvia Israeli said. “What is most important is
that Israel is a haven for the Jewish people, who for centuries lacked it.”
“Now they have a homeland,” he said.
On this day, Israel and people of the Jewish diaspora and supporters of Israel around the world celebrate the day when, just hours before the British Mandate of Palestine offically came to an end, David Ben Gurion read aloud the Israeli Declaration of Inpendence.
“There were several occasions when they had to have a place to go, and they were welcomed in Israel. Jews from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopa and some Arab countries, for example, but no matter where they are from, they had a home to get to and to join us.”
One Arab citizen of Israel who currently lives in the United States said that many Arabs there also celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut. Still, others regard it as a tragic day in their history calling it “the catastrophe.”
Israel and Korea also celebrate 50 years of ties. The two nations officially established diplomatic relations on April 10, 1962. Since then, ties were not always smooth. Israel closed its embassy in Seoul in 1972, as Korea pivoted its diplomatic attetnion toward Arab states and energy concerns. Israel reopened its embassy in Seoul in 1992.
Korean-Israeli trade surged the past 20 years, from $150 million in 1990 to $ 1 billion in 2000. Annual bilateral trade was $7.6 billion in 2011, the vast majority of which are Korean exports of cars and smart phones.