Israel is celebrating Thursday its 73rd Independence Day with a traditional Israel Air Force flyby across the country.
This year Israelis are once again allowed to gather and watch the flyby after most coronavirus restrictions have been lifted due to Israel's successful vaccination rollout and drop in infection rates. Planes will fly over more towns and communities than usual between 10:30 A.M. and 1 P.M.
F-15, F-16, F-16I and F-35 fighter jets; the Lavi aircraft; C-130 and C-130J cargo planes; the Boeing refueling plane; Black Hawk, Sea Stallion, Panther and Apache helicopters will take part in the festive flyby.
Military jets flew over President's Reuven Rivlin official residence in Jerusalem at 8:45 A.M. This was followed by an annual ceremony in which 120 soldiers are awarded the President’s Medal of Distinction.
The Israeli Air Force has launched an app to track the jets, which will pass over Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Be'er Sheva, among other major cities. Many Israelis are expected to hold traditional holiday barbecues in parks, beaches and nature reserves.
The annual international Bible competition will also take place on Thursday at 11 A.M. as well as the Israel Prize ceremony, which will start at 6:30 P.M.
As of Independence Day 2021, Israel has a population of 9.3 million, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, a far cry from the 806,000 residents when Israel declared its independence in 1948.
- Israel marks 73rd Independence Day with ceremony honoring healthcare workers who battled COVID
- Israel at 73: Alive, kicking and ailing
- Without culture, there is no Israeli independence
Nearly 74 percent of the current population is Jewish and 21 percent Arab, according to the statistics agency, with the remaining percentage composed of other backgrounds. These figures include Israelis living in the West Bank but not Palestinians.
Since last Independence Day, the population has grown by 137,000 people, including 16,300 new immigrants to the country. The statistics bureau projects that on Israel’s 100th birthday in 2048, the country will have a population of 15.2 million.