Israel marks anniversary of declaring independenceHundreds of Korean and foreign opinion leaders gathered at the Hilton Hotel on Tuesday night to celebrate the 58th Independence Day of the State of Israel.
The Independence Day of Israel (Yom Haatzmaut) falls on the fifth of Iyar, the eighth month of the Hebrew calendar. This year it was May 3. Israel declared its independence, lost 2,000 years earlier, on May 14, 1948, finishing the British Mandate.
Despite so many achievements in the fields of science, economic development, education and democracy during the last 58 years, “One thing we have not been able to achieve yet is a complete peace,” Yigal Caspi, the Israeli Ambassador to Korea, said in an opening speech.
That could explain why all visitors had to go through metal detectors to enter the reception hall. There was also a bomb-sniffing dog. “We don’t have them for small events, but for huge events we do in order to prevent any accidents,” said Park Sun-joo, spokeswoman for the Israeli Embassy.
Mr. Caspi said the new Israeli Government swore that it would forge Israel’s borders based on the concept of two states living side by side. “We hope and wish that our partners will rise to the occasion so both people will be able to put their resources for better use,” he added.
Mr. Caspi said that besides reaching statehood the same year, Israel and Korea have in common a lack of natural resources and therefore a focus on education. He added that he wants to see more exchange between the two nations.
At the ceremony, Mrs. Caspi got more applause than her husband when she translated what the ambassador had said into clear Korean. When the amazed audience applauded in the middle of her translation, she said, smiling, “Wait, wait, not yet,” in Korean.
by Park Sung-ha
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