Israeli Culture Minister Plans Times Square Video for Independence Day

Officials at the Foreign Ministry are saying Miri Regev is spending millions on a gala evening 'whose diplomatic contribution is unclear'

אלי סבתי

Culture Minister Miri Regev plans to screen a video in New York’s Times Square at a cost of millions of dollars for Israel’s 70th-anniversary celebrations, with the purchase of minutes on the plaza’s huge television screens.

“Miri Regev is wasting money on a gala evening whose diplomatic contribution is unclear,” a source in the Foreign Ministry said about the events that include the three-minute film, responding to reports on television news broadcasts Sunday night.

The stations also reported that the film would be screened as part of the city’s annual Celebrate Israel Parade, and that Regev planned a reception in a luxury hotel in the area. The parade is set for June 3.

According to one of the reports, sources in the Foreign Ministry are criticizing the large budget of the Israel Independence Day project abroad. A source in the ministry estimated the cost at $3 million to $5 million.  

The administration for the 70th-anniversary celebration confirmed the direction of the television reports but said the details had yet to be finalized. The 70th anniversary celebrations, which will take place in April, will last for 70 hours and feature events including fireworks around Israel, beach parties, concerts and parades.

The celebrations will begin with the torch-lighting ceremony on the eve of Israel Independence Day on Wednesday, April 18, and last until a mass Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony ushering in the Sabbath on Friday evening.

Regev said at a press conference last month that the celebrations overall would cost around 100 million shekels ($29 million). She also presented the 70th anniversary logo and slogan: “A Legacy of Innovation.”