Memorial Day sorrow fades into joy as Israel ushers in 73rd Independence Day

At celebratory event in Jerusalem, Netanyahu contravenes tradition by issuing video speech; Pfizer CEO hailed as a Jewish hero, lauds ‘groundbreaking’ vaccination campaign

Israel made the abrupt annual transition from mourning to jubilation on Wednesday night, as Memorial Day drew to a close and its 73rd Independence Day began.

Somber speeches, ceremonies in cemeteries and news reports on fallen soldiers and terror victims gave way to celebration as the annual state ceremony began at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl.

Local authorities around the country held Independence Day events in person, after events last year were mostly canceled or went online due to the nationwide virus lockdown. Now, the plummeting infection rate has allowed for most restrictions to be lifted, though some limits on gatherings remain in place.

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