See you next year in Jerusalem…I guess…

GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary on May 8, but a few gray clouds are already gathering over an otherwise euphoric national holiday. The New York Times yesterday highlighted a noticeable strain of cynicism among Israeli citizens as the date approaches. For example, a recent poll asking people who they want as ...

595523_080410_israeli_flag2.jpg
595523_080410_israeli_flag2.jpg

GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images

Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary on May 8, but a few gray clouds are already gathering over an otherwise euphoric national holiday. The New York Times yesterday highlighted a noticeable strain of cynicism among Israeli citizens as the date approaches.

For example, a recent poll asking people who they want as next prime minister produced a majority response of "none of the above," and a petition against wasting money on anniversary "festivities whose primary purpose is to give a stage to the politicians" gained surprising popularity. The theme of the festivities is "Strengthening Israel's Children" but a recent study shows that one in three children lives in poverty. Coupled with school strikes and ongoing frustration over the security situation, Israelis are having a hard time mustering up much enthusiasm.

GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images

Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary on May 8, but a few gray clouds are already gathering over an otherwise euphoric national holiday. The New York Times yesterday highlighted a noticeable strain of cynicism among Israeli citizens as the date approaches.

For example, a recent poll asking people who they want as next prime minister produced a majority response of “none of the above,” and a petition against wasting money on anniversary “festivities whose primary purpose is to give a stage to the politicians” gained surprising popularity. The theme of the festivities is “Strengthening Israel’s Children” but a recent study shows that one in three children lives in poverty. Coupled with school strikes and ongoing frustration over the security situation, Israelis are having a hard time mustering up much enthusiasm.

Recent polls show a majority of Israelis favor a modest celebration so that money can be used in other areas like health and education. The anniversary plans reflect this in part by focusing on more lasting investments: a cross-country bike trail, completion of a Sea of Galilee footpath, and maintenance of memorials that will involve the country’s youth. There will still be typical national celebration staples like light shows, beach parties, and military displays.

Sever Plocker with Yediot Aharonot said:

Have we gone mad?…Has something gone wrong with our collective mind? The State of Israel is about to mark 60 years of independence in an atmosphere of bitterness, depression and public reluctance ‘to waste the money on celebrations.'”

While I agree that politicians shouldn’t hijack the occasion for their gain, it doesn’t seem right for people to take the wind out of the national sails just because they want to gripe.  It’s a national day — why not act like it and show some pride?

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