March 30, 2008

Israel and the IDF Celebrate Their 60th Anniversary


As part of Israel and the IDF's 60th anniversary, the IDF will hold a series of events to enhance the connection between IDF soldiers and commanders to the state of Israel, Israeli society and the IDF.

In the next few months IDF soldiers and commanders will be have the opportunity to appreciate and promote the country's impressive achievements in the areas of security, finance, society, education, culture, etc.

The 60th anniversary events are organized by the "Israel at 60" Organizing Council, the Ministry of Defense and the IDF and will include both traditional activities as well as special events.

Following is a list of events in a chronological order:

26.03.08 - "Derech Ertez Ve'Shamaim" This is a unique educational project, in which commanders and soldiers of the Air Force, Navy and ground forces will visit 400 high schools around the country to salute Israel's educational system and teachers. As part of the project, which was initiated by the IAF, high school principles and teachers will visit IAF bases and will gain an understanding of its operational activities, values and heritage. Approximately 8000 officers and NCO's will meet over 300,000 students and 1500 principals and teachers.

30.03.08-17.04.08 - "Following the Fighters of 1948" 45,000 high school students from around the country, will tour the historical battlefields of Jerusalem together with soldiers, in order to learn about the history of the main battles during the War of Independence and the Six Day War.

21.04.08-24.04.08 - "A Salute on wheels" The largest cross country bike ride in Israel's history will take start at the Tomb of David Ben Gurion in the south and continue until the community of Katzrin in the north. Thousands of cyclists, including hundreds of soldiers, professional bikers and "Birthright" participants will take part in the journey. The ride will end with a performance by various army bands in Tzemah amphitheater.

23.04.08-24.04.08 - A national treasure hunt which will focus on the 60 years to Israel's independence will take place in 60 different regions throughout the country, in co-operation with the local authorities.

08.05.08 - "A musical salute" - 10 different military bands from around the world, will perform together with the IDF orchestra in an unforgettable musical and visual show on Independence Day in Haifa.

08.05.08 - On Independence Day, a special IDF parade will take place and will include IAF flights over most Israeli communities, a naval review and parachuting exhibition.

Beginning on March 17th 2008, the IDF will commence a project to repair, restore and maintain the monuments dedicated to the nation's fallen soldiers. Teenagers from central Israel will be involved in the restoration work and will meet with the fallen soldiers' families to hear about their loved ones.

Holocaust Memorial Day events:
30.04.08 - The national Holocaust commemoration ceremony at the Yad Vashem museum.
30.04.08 - Holocaust commemoration ceremony at Kibbutz Tel-Yizhak.
01.05.08 - Holocaust commemoration ceremony at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai .
01.05.08 - Holocaust commemoration ceremony at Kibbutz Lohamey HaGeta'ot.

Memorial events in honor of fallen soldiers:
13.03.08 - Remembrance ceremony for IDF soldiers whose burial sites are not known at Har Herzl in Jerusalem.
18.03.08 - Remembrance ceremony for the Tel-Hai fighters.
01.05.08 - Wreath laying ceremony at Yad Vashem attended by Israeli and Diaspora organizations.
01.05.08 - Remembrance ceremony for pre-state volunteers who gave their lives at Har Herzl.
04.05.08 - Flag laying ceremony for fallen soldiers at Har Herzl.
06.05.08 - Candle lighting ceremony in the presence of the President of Israel, Shimon Peres. The ceremony takes place at the Western Wall and marks the beginning of the Memorial Day for fallen IDF soldiers.
07.05.08 - Various events to mark Memorial Day for fallen IDF soldiers at military cemeteries around the country.
07.05.08 -National Memorial Day for the victims of terrorist attacks will take place at Har Herzl.
07.05.08 -Memorial ceremonies for IDF soldiers at memorial sites around the country.
07.05.08 - Memorial ceremony at the Naval Museum in Haifa.
07.05.08 - Memorial ceremony for the fallen IDF Bedouin soldiers at "Hamovil" junction.
07.05.08 - Memorial ceremony for the "Haganah", "Lehi" and "Etzel" fighters in Akko.
02.06.08 - Memorial ceremony for the Ethiopian people who died making their way to Israel, in Jerusalem.
02.06.08 - National ceremony for Jerusalem Day and a memorial ceremony for
the soldiers who died during the liberation of Jerusalem at Ammunition Hill.

Traditional Independence Day events:
28.04.08 - Ceremony honoring outstanding noncommissioned officers attended by the Chief of Staff.
04.05.08 - Ceremony honoring outstanding officers attended by the Chief of Staff.
07.05.08 - Torch lighting and flag ceremony, which opens the Independence
Day events at Har Herzl.
08.05.08 - Museums and memorial sites open to the public.
08.05.08 - Reception for 120 outstanding soldiers at the president's house.
08.05.08 - World Bible Quiz for the Jewish youth from around the world.
08.05.08 - Opening of military bases to the public.
22.05.08 - Ceremony honoring outstanding reserve units.
22.05.08 - Ceremony honoring outstanding reserve officers and soldiers,
including the presentation of certificates of excellence by the Chief of Staff.
09.06.08 - National Quiz for youth between the 10th and 12th graders that
focuses on the contribution of science and technology to the defense of the

During June, a "Haganah", "Etzel" and "Lehi" heritage evening will take place.

During September, the IDF General Staff will visit the "Moreshet" heritage memorial.

In addition, a "Meeting at 60" show will take place on IDF bases and IDF soldiers will participate in tours organized by the Ministry of Education.