from the April 2008 issue

It only looks like a balagan!

There is rarely anything more quintessentially Israeli than Israelis preparing for their annual Day of Independence celebrations. Already in March, some two months before the day, hawkers are selling flags for motorists to proudly display on their cars. Plans are being made for home and outdoor celebrations.

Since five years after our arrival in Israel, we have had a home celebration. The good spirits were aided by bloody Maries. One tends to remember some of the parties; The one on 1968 was especially memorable as it was marked by a military parade through Jerusalem. It was also the first year that television covered a national event.

However, this year seems to be different. It has been driven into our consciousness that a 60 birthday is special. To mark the day the Government has invited dignitaries and luminaries from all over the world. Heads of State and entertainers alike, will descend on Israel to participate in the planned celebrations. However, in typical Israeli fashion, it is impossible to find a detailed program for the day.

The more optimistic of us believe that we shall be spared of the customary balagan. By the way balagan refers to a balcony in Arabic. As families tended to grow rapidly and room had to be made for the newcomers, belongings were put out on the balagan, or balcony. They were put out there without any special plan or order and essentially were just dumped. That is the origin of the word balagan,

We would like to think that the word balagan will not apply to this celebration.

In keeping with Israel's anniversary, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has commissioned a commemorative publication entitled: Israel at 60 From Modest Beginnings to a Vibrant State. It is planned to be published in time for Israel's Independence day in May. However, the deadlines for submitting material for this publication is so tight and close to the date that it is unlikely to be ready for distribution in time for Independence Day. For the forty five years that we have lived in this country, whether in war or peace we were never sure of how things would work out. Yet in each major instance things not only worked out but did so perfectly. We tend to believe that this will also be the case with Israel at 600.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report April 2008

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