Free to Be You and Me

For the new Independence Day to have as little as possible to do with the loathsome and established observances with which everyone has had it up to their heinies, first and foremost it is necessary to cancel the torch-lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl.

I've made up my mind: Next Independence Day I'm going to celebrate the way I want, and no one is going to tell me what to do or when. Enough with the hypocrisy. If this state really does have the intention of giving its citizens independence then it should give everyone the independence to celebrate his independence, each in his own individual and original way. And first of all, of course, it has to break this linkage between Memorial Day and Independence Day, which has long been an irritation to thousands of Israelis.

Let's think together: Would a separation of a week suffice? Maybe a month would be better? Okay - we've agreed: a month and a half, more or less. That is: Memorial Day will no longer fall on the 5th of the Hebrew month of Iyar, but rather on the Fast of Esther. In this way there would not be a great change in the idea of the transition "from grief to rejoicing" and only the rejoicing would be different, albeit not by too much. This is because on Purim, too, we rejoice in the salvation of Israel from the hands of evildoers who wished to slaughter us, and in being saved from them by a handful of heroes.

Eran Wolkowski

For the new Independence Day to have as little as possible to do with the loathsome and established observances with which everyone has had it up to their heinies, first and foremost it is necessary to cancel the torch-lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl and the flag-bearers' march that accompanies it. In their stead, we need to enable anyone who has a complaint against the state to burst spontaneously into the silent parade grounds where, as noted, no official ceremony will be held and where the only ones observing the show will be the bones of Theodor Herzl, or whatever is left of them.

First, presumably, a representative of the Shalit family will run out. By next year, with God's help, Gilad Shalit will have returned from his captivity, but the memory of the blunders by the state in securing his release will not have faded. After him, let us suppose, will run a representative of the family of Moshe Katsav, raising a banner in favor of the former president's return from prison. And after him, spontaneously, will come representatives of the feminists, raising banners against Katsav's bare-faced (and whatever else ) audacity. Or, spontaneously, travelers who had planned not to be in Israel and were forced to remain here because of contaminated jet fuel will burst into view, demanding of this crappy state compensation for the suffering caused them.

In the context of the non-lighting-of-torches ceremony - and in order to express the protest of many citizens against the prolonged oppression they have been forced to suffer for 63 years of repetition of formulations of empty patriotic phrases, a torch-extinguishing ceremony will be held at quite a different mount. Like, say, Mount Napoleon in Ramat Gan.

Thus: During the month and a half following the new Memorial Day, which as noted will be held on the Fast of Esther, torches will be lit on Mount Napoleon, and on Independence Day about a dozen people will extinguish them angrily while energetically cursing this screwed-up country.

Go forth and see how much energy was wasted this year on the question of whether to allow that Chabad representative to say "to the glory of the state of the Land of Israel" at the torch-lighting ceremony. Starting next year it will be permissible to declaim anything that comes to mind - on condition that the words "glory" and "Israel" are included. For example: "To the glory of the Nakba the Palestinian people suffered at the hands of Israel." Or: "To the glory of the ultra-Orthodox community that does not recognize the State of Israel." And anyway, why 12 torches? Why not 15? 25?

Starting next Memorial Day, another revolution: Everyone who ever died, of illness, of old age or in a traffic accident, will be entitled to the title "slain" and his relations will be considered a Bereaved Family. Clearly, however, the moment all the dead are considered slain, a protest will arise among those who do not want any favors from this screwed-up state, not even to have the "Yizkor" prayer said over them after their spirit was trampled at tedious official ceremonies for so many years.

What will remain of the old Independence Day? The barbecue! But not so fast. The vegetarian organizations and the Meat is Murder association and the Organization for the Prevention of Air Pollution Caused by the Charcoal Industry are planning to declare an alternative cookout day, which will be observed on the day before Lag Ba'omer. This will be the alternative Memorial Day for animals that fell victim to human barbarism and became the food of human beasts at barbecues on the regular Independence Day. On Lag Ba'omer itself the eating of meat will be prohibited and the only permitted food will be potatoes, which will be roasted not in polluting bonfires but rather by means of solar energy.

And finally: Those who are scrupulously observant of the ordinance of the separation between Independence Day in its old format and the new, free concept of Independence Day will move Independence Day to the middle of the summer, when in any case most of the Israeli nation is vacationing abroad. Among the dates and places that could be taken into consideration: July 4 on Fifth Avenue in New York, or July 14 on the Champs Elysees in Paris. How beautiful the Independence Days look in the best-run countries! Not a mess like in our screwed-up state.