On the eve of Israel’s 69th Independence Day, 89% of the country’s citizens say they are “proud” to be Israeli. More than half (58%) of those polled said they were “very proud” of their nationality, and another 31% said they were “fairly proud” to be Israelis. Only 8% said they “were not very proud” and 1% said they were “not proud at all”. An additional 2% said they didn’t know whether or not they were proud to be Israeli.The poll was conducted on April 26 among a representative sample of 500 Hebrew-speaking Israelis. The poll also asked respondents what they saw as the most critical problem facing Israel, and security issues were far from the top of respondents’ list of concerns: 22% cited social schisms as the biggest problem in Israel, 21% pointed to the economic situation, and 18% said corruption was the biggest problem. Only 17% pointed to terrorism as the biggest problem in Israel.
Israel paused to honor its fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism on Monday as it observed its annual Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism.Sirens wailed across the country at 8 p.m. Sunday, and again at 11 a.m. Monday, prompting Israelis to stop in their tracks and stand silently with heads bowed for a minute to remember the dead.Netanyahu, who lost a brother in a military operation in 1976, went on to say: “So much, and yet so little, has changed in our country. Our life continues to depend on the willingness to sacrifice and the heroism of our sons and daughters. I know that this heroism is a necessary condition not only for our existence, but also for achieving peace with our neighbors. Therefore, when I’m about to send our soldiers to the battlefield, I always think with a heavy heart, with the utmost consideration. I think about them and I think about the families, because I know that sometimes the price is immense.”We are brothers for better and for worse, in longing for peace and in the pain of war. Soul to soul on the battlefield and in life0”, he said. “I wish health to the wounded. We will not rest until we bring our soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, home. Tonight [on Independence Day] we will know that the State of Israel is the realization of many dreams – a light unto the nations with our achievements. We are an unparalleled beacon of morality in our region and in the entire world”. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot also spoke at the ceremony, saying, “The legacy of Israel and the IDF was written by courageous individuals who charged and continued to fight even in impossible situations. It is a legacy of achieving goals, fighting without compromise and completing missions”.