Independence Is Being Able to Defend Ourselves, Netanyahu Says as Israel Marks 70

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at Israel’s official Independence Day ceremony Wednesday evening, marking the end of Memorial Day and the beginning of the celebrations of Israel’s 70th year, and praised the country as a beacon of light. Meanwhile, President Rivlin took the opportunity to thank the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem.

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"All other nations who have faced exile have fallen apart – but only the Jewish people refused to disappear and to integrate and never gave up the dream of returning to Zion," Netanyahu said.

Israel marks its 70th Independence Day with fireworks and celebrations

Using the metaphor of the menorah, the main symbol on Israel’s emblem, Netanyahu said that there are those today who still wish "to extinguish our menorah’s light."

He vowed that Israel will defend itself in the face of those wishing to destroy it, saying "independence is being able to defend ourselves… I salute you," Netanyahu said to Israeli soldiers.

– Netanyahu praises Israel as ‘beacon of strength and progress’ on 70th Independence Day