No fireworks for Israeli Independence Day over PTSD concerns

Israel’s raucous Independence Day celebrations will be a little quieter this year

Via AP news wire
Monday 02 May 2022 08:03
Israel Independence Day
Israel Independence Day

Israel’s raucous Independence Day celebrations will be a little quieter this year.

Although fireworks are typically a mainstay at parties across the country, this year many of the glittering yet noisy displays have been cancelled over concerns by some military veterans who say the cracking and banging dredges up the horrors of battle, especially for those with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The barrage of fireworks is the same as a burst of gunfire for us,” Ehud Amiton, a former soldier with PTSD who has worked to cancel the firework displays, told Israeli Army Radio Monday. “We don’t oppose the celebrations, we oppose the noise.”

Israel marks 74 years since its creation on Thursday, and festivities begin the night before.

The country’s main ceremony in Jerusalem, which usually boasts a grandiose fireworks finale will instead hold a silent pyrotechnic show. The seaside metropolis of Tel Aviv, where residents climb to rooftops to watch the glittering display, has also scrapped fireworks this year.

Israel’s Culture Minister Chili Tropper announced last month that he was siding with the veterans, saying it was Israel’s duty to respect the former fighters and recognize their struggle with PTSD, especially as the country marks its Independence Day.

“For most Israelis fireworks maybe a nice image in the sky, but for them it is the sound of gunfire and battle,” Tropper wrote on Facebook last month, announcing that this year’s national ceremony would drop the fireworks. “They have fought enough. They have paid a heavy price. This year we are reaching out to them.”

Independence Day in Israel comes a day after it marks its Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. It is one of the most somber days on the calendar, as bereaved families visit cemeteries and the country comes to a standstill for a solemn moment to remember the dead. Restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues close, and TV and radio broadcast melancholy music and stories about Israel’s wars and the dead.

That melancholic mood ends abruptly in the evening with a burst of jubilant Independence Day celebrations, which usually include fireworks.

The decision to cancel fireworks in many cities drew criticism from some nationalists, who saw it as an attempt to scale back Israeli patriotism.

“There is some interest here to temper Independence Day celebrations,” Yair Netanyahu, the son of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a prominent nationalist voice, wrote on Twitter. “There have been fireworks on Independence Day for 70 years and there was never any problem with it!”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in