The achievement of the Palestinians "legitimate aspirations" will make the Middle East more peaceful and prosperous, President Obama said in his message for Israel's Independence Day. "This is a period of profound change in the Middle East and North Africa, as people across the region courageously pursue the path of dignity and self-governance," Obama said in his message released Monday evening. "Just as I know that Israel will always be one of our closest allies, I believe that the region can be more peaceful and prosperous when its people are able to fulfill their legitimate aspirations.
As Israelis celebrated the country's 63rd Independence Day, they had much more on their minds than barbecues and fireworks. The carefully crafted theme of the day, "Looking after one another -- the year of mutual care," raised the hackles of some Israelis who do not believe the state is looking after everyone.
Yoel Shalit, brother of abducted Israel Defense forces soldier Gilad Shalit clashed with police on Monday as he was escorted out of the official 63rd Independence Day ceremony at Mount Herzl for shouting during the speeches.
A day of national mourning turned to celebration as Israel marked the beginning of its Independence Day. Celebrations began Monday evening, when the state flag was raised from half to full mast during a national ceremony at Mount Herzl.
KassemJEW is on the streets of Westwood to talk to Angelenos about Israel Independence Day. Happy Yom Ha'Atzmaut!