Netanyahu to light torch at Independence Day ceremony

Netanyahu will light a torch during the state ceremony marking Israel’s 70th Independence Day, on behalf of all the governments of Israel since the state’s establishment.

By: World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will light a torch during the state ceremony marking the commencement of Israel’s 70th Yom Ha’atzmaut, or Independence Day, on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

According to the agreement between Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein and Netanyahu, the Israeli premier will light the torch on behalf of all the governments of Israel since the establishment of the state and will also give a brief speech on the Declaration of Independence.

In a statement, Edelstein said that the agreement reached with Netanyahu would “preserve the torch-lighting ceremony beloved by us all.”

Edelstein added that the Knesset, “which represents all of the country’s citizens,” would lead the ceremony, as it has in the past.

This compromise between Edelstein and Netanyahu comes after a public spat between the two surrounding Netanyahu’s appearance at the ceremony. While the prime minister does not usually attend or participate in the ceremony, Netanyahu has done so in the past and this year’s historic ceremony is of special significance. Edelstein viewed the initiative as fundamental change to the traditional torch lighting ceremony.

In a letter distributed to all 120 Members of Knesset (MK) last week, Edelstein threatened to boycott the ceremony due to Culture Minister Miri Regev’s initiative that would see Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin participating in the ceremony.

Edelstein wrote that the Knesset, “in which there are representatives for all men and women in Israel, in which all strata of Israeli society are represented in all their diversity, is the traditional leader of the special ceremony—in unity, respect and stateliness.”