Israel’s 70th birthday is set to be celebrated with a gala evening at the Royal Albert Hall in May next year.
The event, hosted by the United Synagogue, will feature Israeli and British artists from across the musical spectrum, and will mark 70 years since the State of Israel was founded on 14 May 1948.
But the timing of the announcement has ruffled some communal feathers because of the timing of the announcement, before the flagship community-wide celebration of the special birthday has been announced. Some fear the US event, partly because of the grand venue, might give the impression to some community members of being the central celebration. Questions have also been raised about the motivation for the early announcement, with some believing it was an attempt to get a head start on fundraising.
The JLC’s new chair Jonathan Goldstein previously said the organisation would announce a major celebration, which is being developed by a group including the US.
His brother, the US’s president Michael Goldstein, said: “The US, together with numerous communal organisations, are proud to be celebrating Israel’s 70th birthday. Our Royal Albert Hall event has been in planning since the summer with our plans of course being shared with a number of organisations, including the JLC and the Board of Deputies. The date of this event has been set for the 24th May, over a month after the date of Yom Ha’atzmaut, so as to avoid any possible clash.
“We look forward to working with a number of partners on the Royal Albert Hall event, just as we anticipate working hard in support of the cross-communal celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut.”
The event is the brainchild of US director of development Alan Aziz, whose previous roles as head of the Zionist Federation and JNF-UK saw him organise huge events celebrating Israel.