Israel celebrates 72 years of independence amid virus lockdown

Celebrations of Israel’s 72st Independence Day began at Jerusalem’s Mt Herzl late Tuesday with a traditional Torch-Lighting Ceremony, but this year without an audience and with most parts of the show pre-recorded, as the country battles coronavirus epidemic.

Earlier in the day a nationwide lockdown was imposed on Israel’s cities and towns in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Traditional barbecues in local parks have been banned by the Health Ministry, while most municipalities cancelled all firework shows, deeming it “inappropriate” at the time of the epidemic.

The ceremony kicked off with a video message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that Israel has never seen an Independence Day as the one this year.