The celebrations kicked off with the flag hoisting ceremony by India's Ambassador to Israel Sanjeev Singla.
The Indian community in Israel celebrated India’s 75th Independence Day on Sunday by organising a series of events, including illuminating the historic Haifa War Cemetery in the tricolour to honour the Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the World War I.
The celebrations kicked off with the flag hoisting ceremony by India’s Ambassador to Israel Sanjeev Singla. “While rising COVID-19 cases here compelled us to mark our 75th Independence Day online, we are glad that we have been able to organise a few things with the community’s help,” Singla told PTI.
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“In particular, we are happy about the revitalisation effort at the Junction Station Cemetery at Nahal Sorek that honours the many Indian soldiers who died in this sector during WWI. During the 75th year of our independence, we would like to mark the remaining such sites here in Israel,” the Indian envoy added.
“We are also happy to see the virtual tours between Ben Gurion Desert Home and the Sabarmati Ashram,” he said.
As a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, whose portrait was kept by Israel’s first Prime Minister Ben Gurion in his room, a virtual tour of Sabarmati Ashram and Ben-Gurion’s Desert Home has also been organised.
The home, which attracts thousands of visitors every year, will be illuminated in the Indian tricolour to mark the strong bond of friendship between the two countries. The Town Hall in Haifa city will also be illuminated later in the day. Indian soldiers laid down their lives during the World War I to liberate the city on September 23, 1918, in what most war historians consider the last great cavalry campaign in history .
The Haifa War Cemetery earlier illuminated in the shades of tricolour to honour the Indian soldiers. History textbooks in the city have included the story of city’s liberation by Indian soldiers during World War I with many residents even aware of Major Dalpat Singh, recognised as the “Hero of Haifa”. The Indian Embassy in Israel is organising a remembrance ceremony at Junction Station Cemetery, a site in Nahal Sorek, that honours Indian soldiers who died during WWI in this sector.
With the Independence Day this year also marking the beginning of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a campaign to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of India’s journey has been launched to showcase the country’s culture and achievements through various programmes.
The Indian-Jewish diaspora in Israel has come together to celebrate #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav with the launch of Indian-Jewish Artefacts Exhibition at India Cultural Centre Tel Aviv in association with the Indian Jewish Heritage Center (IJHC), Israel.
The Indian mission in Tel Aviv also released a video of the national anthem by Israeli Singer Keren Porat. Indian students at the famous Technion Institute are also organising an event dedicated to #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav.
The Israeli Consulate in Mumbai also released a video wishing Indians on Independence Day.
The deputy Director General at Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Asia and Pacific Desk, Gilad Cohen, Former Israeli Ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon and the Chairperson of Israel-India Chamber of Commerce, Anat Bernstein-Reich, wished the people of India on the occasion in the video calling for further strengthening of ties between the two countries.
Tsahi Halevi, the Israeli actor of Fauda fame, also greeted the Indians. “People of Israel share a special bond with India and I am sure this will only grow in the days to come,” Halevi said.