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It was hot, but it was happy.
About 30,000 people came to the Israel Independence Day Festival on May 18 at Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley. The day combined hard-edged Israeli rappers Subliminal with Chabad's make-your-own-kosher pickle booth. The celebration of the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding also included performances by Israeli and local Jewish artists, information booths, kiddie rides, great quantities of falafel and speeches from dignitaries.
"I dream of a day when this extraordinary nation will be welcomed by its neighbors, when it will live in peace and harmony," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said of Israel in a rousing speech. The governor reminisced about his first time in Israel as a body builder judging the Miss Israel contest: "Let me tell you, that was a great trip."
Schwarzengger presented the Cherished Friend of the Israeli and Jewish Community of Los Angeles Award to his friend Beny Alagem, an Israeli American entrepreneur and owner of Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The Metro Orange Line eased parking woes and the festival's new nighttime hours -- it ran until 10 p.m. -- took the edge off a 100-degree day.