A lack of funding has forced organizers to cancel this year’s Israel Independence Day Festival in Woodley Park, a community event that at its height attracted as many as 30,000 people. An immediate donation of around $30,000 could reverse the decision, according to Yoram Gutman, executive director of Israel Independence Day Festival, which runs the event. The festival honoring Israel’s 63rd birthday was scheduled for May 15.
Maybe it was the relatively cool weather on Sunday. Or maybe it was the stepped-up participation
Last year at the Israel Independence Day Festival in Woodley Park, anti-disengagement activist Shifra Hastings of Los Angeles was clad all over in orange, the color of protest, right down to her painted fingernails.
Between 35,000 and 40,000 people spent Sunday, May 15 at Woodley Park in Van Nuys for the annual Israel Independence Day festival.
The festival's early afternoon main event featuring pro-Israel speeches and politicians lasted exactly one hour; on the last note of "The Star-Spangled Banner" skydivers appeared above. "The coincidence was amazing," festival executive director Yoram Gutman said.
In the late afternoon, more than 7,000 people crowded the festival's main stage to hear Israeli pop superstar Sarit Hadad. Fire marshals had difficulty clearing fans from the aisles.
Brutal heat was the dominant feature of the May 2 Israel Independence Day Festival in Van Nuys, as 99-degree temperatures kept thousands indoors and away from the sprawling Woodley Park celebration.
"Security" and "unity." Those were the two buzzwords of this year's Israel Independence Day Festival. And both were in great supply in what turned out to be a festive and safe celebration of Israel and Jewish culture.