How­doy­oucel­e­brateIs­rael at 60? Any way you like . . .

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANIELLA PELED FOR­EIGN ED­I­TOR

WITH IS­RAEL about to mark its 60th an­niver­sary next month, par­ties have been planned through­out the Jewish state and the di­as­pora. Bar­be­cues will be fired up, falafel will be fried, and blue-and-white flags will be waved.

But some have de­cided to cel­e­brate in a rather more un­usual style.

In Is­rael, the com­mit­tee tasked with or­gan­is­ing the 60th-an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions has come up with a variety of events — at a cost of NIS 98 mil­lion (£14m) — in­clud­ing a mass wed­ding for 60 new im­mi­grant cou­ples of­fi­ci­ated at by Chief Rab­bis Shlomo Amar and Yonah Met­zger .

On the same nu­mer­i­cal theme, 60 mon­u­ments to the In­de­pen­dence War will be re­fur­bished, 60 new pic­nic sites es­tab­lished around the coun­try, and a 60km path built around the Kin­neret.

Is­raeli pres­i­dent Shi­mon Peres has brought top politi­cians and celebri­ties on board for a May con­fer­ence on Jewish and Is­raeli con­tri­bu­tions to hu­man­ity.

How­ever, guests, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Bush, Tony Blair and Mikhail Gor­bachev, will miss out on Bar­bra Streisand singing the He­brew prayer Av­inu Malkeinu, af­ter she can­celled this week. Me­dia ex­ec­u­tives in­clud­ing Ru­pert Mur­doch, Google founder Sergey Brinn and Face­book’s Mark Zuck­er­man are due to join them.

On a more pro­saic level, a birth­day bash will be laid on for ev­ery­one born the day in­de­pen­dence was de­clared. There is also a com­pe­ti­tion to find a na­tional bird for Is­rael — with cur­rent con­tenders in­clud­ing the grif­fin vul­ture and the Pales­tine sun­bird.

On Yom Ha’atz­maut there will also be an at­tempt to hold the world’s largest ever pic­nic.

Or­gan­ised in the Pe­tach Tikva by the Nick­elodeon car­toon chan­nel, Pic­nick­elodeon will bring to­gether 20,000 peo­ple for food, shows, and an ex­treme-sports dis­play.

Else­where, the Is­rael Flag for the Fu­ture project aims to col­lect enough pieces of dec­o­rated blue fab­ric from com­mu­ni­ties world­wide to cre­ate a vast flag, cur­rently 12m by 85m, to be pre­sented to the peo­ple of Is­rael.

In Lon­don, the Zion­ist Fed­er­a­tion plans to cre­ate the world’s big­gest pitta bread, stuffed with gi­ant falafel, out­side the Is­rael 60 Gala Show at Wem­b­ley Arena on May 8.

Other record-break­ing at­tempts in­clude an am­bi­tious plan by Is­raeli busi­ness­woman Galia Al­bin to get eve- ry Jew in the world to sing Hatikva on May 7, cap­tured in a live broad­cast.

A rather dif­fer­ent take on the na­tional an­them comes from Paris-based Francky Perez, who has cre­ated a new English-lan­guage ver­sion — in the form of a rap.

Mr Perez, 31, told the JC: “Rap is a way of get­ting a mes­sage across to the younger gen­er­a­tion. The idea was to ex­press the way we feel about Is­rael for the 60th.”

The Is­raelis have also picked up on the idea of mu­si­cal fu­sion with top Zion­ist rap­per Sub­lim­i­nal, teaming up with vet­eran kib­butz singers the Ge­va­tron for a duet en­ti­tled 60 Years Old.

Ger­many puzzle and toy com­pany Ravens­berger has man­u­fac­tured a 1,000-piece puzzle de­pict­ing the West­ern Wall. Is­raeli com­pany Sacheck-Na have placed 400 pieces within the wall it­self and those who find them will re­ceive a free puzzle sent to their home.

The bl­o­go­sphere has also got into the ac­tion with the launch of 60Blog­gers. com – a project ded­i­cated to two months of daily post­ing about Is­rael in the runup to In­de­pen­dence Day on May 8.

Ad­vo­cacy group the Is­rael Project has launched an on­line con­test with prize money of $20,000 (£10,000) to pro­duce a TV ad­vert, video, and printed flyer in any one of six lan­guages to high­light the achieve­ments of Is­rael at 60.

the Pales­tine sun­bird; brides and grooms; Sub­lim­i­nal the rap­per; the Ge­va­tron singers; Francky Perez

Party time: ( clock­wise from left)

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