First baby to be born on Israel’s 70th Independence Day: Baby girl in Tel Aviv

As Israelis began celebrating Israel’s 70th Independence Day, a young couple in Tel Aviv was welcoming their first child into the world. Less than 10 minutes after the official state ceremony in Jerusalem began, Shira Goren gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
The Goren family Photo Credit: Ichilov Hospital Spokesperson

While Israelis kicked off the celebrations marking 70 years since Israel’s establishment, a young family in Tel Aviv had another special reason to smile. At 8:06 PM on Wednesday evening, minutes after the Independence Day celebrations began, Shira and Roei Goren welcomed their first child, a healthy baby girl.

Shira gave birth at Tel Aviv Ichilov Hospital. “We are honored to have given birth on the special day when the celebrations marking 70 years of Israel’s Independence began,” Shira said.  

At 8:00 PM, the traditional torch-lighting ceremony in Jerusalem, which is the official state event that kicks off Independence Day, was held. This year’s ceremony was the largest and most expensive in Israel’s history, with 1,500 participants and more than 6,500 people in the audience.

In an unprecedented move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the ceremony and even participated in it, lightening a torch and delivering a 14-minute speech. Netanyahu’s plans to participate in the ceremony sparked outrage in Israel, even from within his own political party. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud), who is in charge of the ceremony, had threatened to boycott the event due to Netanyahu’s plans. However, the two eventually agreed that both would participate by delivering short remarks and lightening a torch.

“In 70 CE, the menorah went out but today, in Israel’s 70th year, the menorah is the symbol of our country and its lights are stronger than ever,” Netanyahu said. “Also today, there are those who want to extinguish our light. I promise you that this won’t happen. Our light will always prevail over their darkness.”

Netanyahu concluded his speech by calling for peace with Israel’s neighbors. “A deep admiration is beginning to reach another important place—the Arab states,” he said. “And here I believe there are real seeds for peace. And to our enemies who think that we are a passing phenomenon—in 70 years they’ll find a country 70 times stronger. Because what we’ve done so far is just the beginning.”

After the ceremony, Israelis nationwide started to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary of independence. The celebrations will continue today with the traditional Israeli Air Force flyover, which can be seen from some 40 cities and towns across Israel. Dozens of aircraft will take part in the flyover, including F-16s and F-35s. In addition, IAF bases will be open to the public and a celebratory parachute parade and naval flotilla will take place.

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