We sat with our friends on the rooftop of their apartment building, a glorious display of fireworks exploding over our heads in the Jerusalem night sky. In the streets below, thousands of men, woman and children cheered and sang in joyous celebration. Children on roller-skates passed mischievous teens spraying colorful, plastic string on passers-by while Israeli’s danced until dawn.
It was a night to be remembered and savored, one that only 50 years before seemed improbable. This was Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, in 1998.
It is 15 years since my family and I lived in Israel and celebrated her 50th birthday. But Israel at 50 was a very different Israel than the one we now know at 65.