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68 years young

Dear Editor,

Israel’s Independence Day begins with celebrations on the night before, as the country transitions from Memorial Day — 24 hours of mourning for its fallen soldiers and terror victims. Here in Addis Ababa, the Embassy of Israel marked the Memorial Day with the presence of the Israeli Community. We shared the pain, the wounds and the suffering, together, in community.  Later on we celebrated our Independence with a kind of mixed sentiment of pain, joy and pride with hundreds of our friends, both Ethiopians and foreigners.
Some figures: on the eve of Israel’s 68th birthday, the country’s population stands at 8,522,000, according to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics. We were just 806,000 in 1948.  By 2035 the population of Israel would reach 11.3 million people. About 96 percent of the population in Israel have cell phones today.
In 1948, there was only one city in Israel that had more than 100,000 residents — Tel Aviv. Today, there are 14 cities with more than 100,000 residents and eight cities that have a population of 200,000 or more — Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Petah Tikva, Ashdod, Netanya, and Beersheba.
The Israeli flag flies gloriously and a great light shines from Jerusalem, our capital. World leaders come to Israel every day. They say to us in wonder: “You have such a great country. It is a vibrant, entrepreneurial country, creative spiritually and materially.” They see the roads, the construction, our technology, economy, society, art. Above all, they see the citizens of Israel, and their great skills and entrepreneurship, our sense of mutual accountability, the way we unify in times of trouble.
Together with our friends, inspired in our past, we seize together the opportunities of the future, today.
Today, Israel is strong. It’s stable.  It’s prosperous, it’s vibrant. All because we will never give up on peace.  Our National Anthem is called “The Hope”. We have strong faith that our small country, the “Innovation Nation”, will live in harmony and peace with many more of our neighbors.
As Israel’s leaders say, “Security is our duty. Mutual recognition is our hope. Peace is still our vision”

Leo Vinovezky 

Deputy Chief of Mission

Embassy of Israel