The Lithuanian Jewish Community celebrated Israeli Independence Day Monday. Happy 68th birthday, Israel! In 1948 David Ben-Gurion declared the independence of Israel from the British Mandated Palestine and became the country’s first prime minister. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations partitioned Mandate Palestine between its Arab and Jewish inhabitants with heavy lobbying in favor of the move from the United States. Fighting ensued in Palestine. The British were resolved to pull out by May 15, 1948, the day their League of Nations mandate ended, no matter what happened, and most diplomats though a direct UN trusteeship was the only solution. At 4:00 P.M. on the afternoon of Friday, May 14, Ben-Gurion as leader of the Jewish Agency proclaimed Israeli independence at the Tel Aviv Museum and the event was broadcast live on Kol Yisrael radio. Those present broke into singing Hatikvah, which was to become the national anthem. President Harry S. Truman in Washington, D. C., recognized the state of Israel at 6:11 P.M., just after midnight in Israel.
Israelis often spend the holiday with family outdoors at scenic locations around the country.
Our celebration featured holiday greetings from Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon and Lithuanian Jewish Community deputy chairwoman Maša Grodnikienė, and a concert by the Rakija Klezmer Orkestar. Guests also got to sample traditional Israeli treats and snacks. A big thank you goes to Žana Skudovičienė who not only organized the entire event, but also served as MC.