In Subdued Fashion, Israel Celebrates 72nd Independence Day

The country was under a 27-hour curfew as part of the government's efforts to continue loosening coronavirus restrictions and further reduce Israel's infection rate. Many annual festivities were held in a relatively low-key manner or did not take place at all


Photo: Reuters

Israel marked its 72nd Independence Day on April 29 with the country under a lockdown to prevent the possibility of contagion via holiday crowds or gatherings.
The 27-hour lockdown was imposed as part of the government's efforts to slow the country's coronavirus infection rate, which has declined in recent weeks, and continue loosening restrictions overall.
The police conducted a nationwide operation to enforce the curfew, setting up more than 40 roadblocks on major intercity roads, and deploying vehicles and policemen within cities and towns to carry out patrols, set up surprise roadblocks and locate citizens not following the instructions. A fine of NIS 500 was set for those in violation of the lockdown.
In a statement, the police called on citizens to avoid unnecessary encounters with policemen and to heed instructions in order to protect the health of all of the country's citizens.
Public areas such as beaches and parks that are usually packed with holidaymakers on Independence Day were empty, and there was little or no traffic on the country's main roads.
The lockdown was in effect from August 28 at 5pm until April 29 at 8pm. Inter-city travel was banned for the duration of the curfew, and public transportation was suspended until 5am on August 29. 
Citizens were required to stay within 100 meters of their homes when going outside, and only allowed to travel within their city or town of residence in order to acquire vital items or services, except under certain circumstances. But not all citizens abided by the regulations. There were over 1,000 tickets issued for violating curfew, and more than 100 issued for not wearing face masks.
Meanwhile, many annual festivities were held in a relatively low-key manner or did not take place at all. The evening torch-lighting ceremony at Mt. Herzl marking the start of the holiday was pre-recorded and held without an audience. The cross-country flyovers by Air Force combat aircraft was called off, and instead four planes from the Air Force's acrobatic team conducted a flyover of the country's hospitals in honor of medical staff. A ceremony honoring the IDF's most outstanding soldiers was postponed. 

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