When you say Independence Day in Israel, most Israeli will think about barbecue. And indeed, barbecue and grilling become so popular during Independence Day that many say: “Eating is our National sport.”
But some people celebrate differently, and in this post, I will show several alternatives to barbecue.
Nautical Independence Day In Herzliya
During the 2011 Independence Day, I went to Arena in Herzliya (but the year should not matter since it is an annual event). Traditionally at 11:00 every Independence Day flotilla starts sailing from the Arena mal.
Map of the area:
The yachts start to sail:
But, this man decided to catch fish:
View of boats in Arena:
Also, on every Independence Day Israeli Air Force performs a show flight along the Mediterranean Sea. This flight is made at low altitude and low speed. It usually includes several helicopters, fighter and cargo planes. Overall about 20-30 aircraft.
Times of their pass above each city is published on the internet, and that year they passed over over Herzliya around noon.
Aerial Independence Day
I have been to Independence Day fireworks in different cities and have not found something worth photographing yet. In many cases the background was horrible. I probably need to visit Louis Promenade during the fireworks.
Ramat David Airforce Base
Next morning, we drove to Ramat David Airforce Base. It is one of the open airforces bases around Israel.
Map of the area:
Several years ago we tried to visit another airforce base. We approached the station around 9:30 and got stuck in traffic for two and a half hours. That year we skipped the visit. But I learned my lesson and this time we were next to the air force bases at 8:15 (they open at 8:00).
We parked our car outside, entered Ramat David and the first thing we saw was machinery exhibition.
The whole exhibition was held outside, on an old airplane landing strip.
This truck can lift a fighter plane:
Patriot was used in the 90’s for defense against missiles from Iraq.
From machinery, we moved to helicopters.
There were also several helicopters in the air. This is the police helicopter that demonstrated its alarms.
There were many people, thus having a clear sight for a photo was not always trivial.
Cargo helicopter that can carry a jeep.
Then we passed to fighter planes:
As you can see next to each airplane, there is a small stand with a short description.
Looking along the airplane strip with all the exhibits.
Also since the event takes place on an airplane strip, towards noon, the At gets hotter. This is another reason to arrive early.
As you probably noticed, all fighters have small red covers (for example nose cover). When we asked one of the soldiers, he said that the covers protect different sensors and they take them off only before takeoff.
In the end of the strip, after the fighters there several small planes.
And of course unmanned aerial vehicle.
The last in the line, a big cargo plane:
We heard an announcement (through loudspeakers) about the aerial show that will take place in two minutes.
These were four light planes that performed different stunts. The show lasted probably ten minutes and was very nice.
The Rest Of The Exhibition
While on one side of the strip there were mainly fighters and helicopters, on the other there were various related things.
Food And Parking
There were two small food courts with about five food stands each. They were selling junk food. Towards the end of our visit, we wanted ice cream. As in Israel, there were no ordered lines, and everybody just got a small question. Well, it took some time and art of elbowing till I was able to get the ice cream. Explicit line separators would make this a much better experience.
But as it turned out, it was our smallest problem. Since we arrived early, there was almost no traffic. But, when we wanted to leave, many others did the same. The art of elbowing continued at the exit from the parking. Instead of two lanes, people opened more and more. At some point, I counted ten lanes. It took us about two and a half hours to exit the parking. If I knew this in advance, most likely that I would skip the visit to Ramat David Airforce Base. Horrible experience.
The whole visit inside Ramat David Airforce Base took about three hours. It is quite hot during this season so do not forget to bring water and sunscreen.
Overall, it is a pleasant experience and fun for kids. But the logistic is lacking. The whole parking experience with kids in the car is, how to put it delicately, a nightmare. Even if you kids behave, other drivers will not. At some Airforce Bases, as in Ramat David, you park next to the base and then there will be heavy traffic on exit. At others, you park in a big parking lot and then take a dedicated bus. Several years ago we took such bus while visiting Techni air base during Independence Day and there were no traffic problems.
My recommendation would be either park next to the exit (the distance we passed during two and a half hours was less than 1 km). Or try to come later in the afternoon, make sure there is no heavy traffic at the entrance to the parking. Or preferably, use both recommendations.
Independence Day At Yad La-Shiryon
Yad La-Shiryon, officially named The Armored Corps Memorial Site and Museum at Latrun, is Israel’s official memorial site for fallen soldiers from the armored corps, as well as one of the most diverse tank museums in the world. The cornerstone for Yad La-Shiryon was laid on December 14, 1982.
The site was created through the initiative of veteran officers of the armored corps. The outdoor display included 110 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, both Israeli and captured enemy examples including the Merkava and T-72 tanks, as well as vehicles purchased from allied nations specifically for diversifying the collection. Other notable items include: an M4 Sherman tank mounted high atop a former British water tower. A collection of movable bridges constructed by the IDF which can be carried by tanks and erected while under fire. Captured enemy vehicles, most of which Israel has modified and updated. A tank with a blown up gun. And long, engraved commemorative wall bearing the names of Armored Corps soldiers killed in defense of the country.
Map of the area:
Extra Shows At Yad La-Shiryon
During 2018 Independence Day we visited The Armored Corps Memorial Site and Museum at Latrun. Yad La-Shiryon has a museum all year round. But during Independence Day, additional army forces come and there are extra shows.
We started with the Military engineering exhibition.
It is the massive caterpillar D9.
Beside every vehicle, there is an explanation stand in Hebrew. And guides are telling about the exhibits and answering questions. I asked why the top of this vehicle is covered with something that looks like small glued stones.
As it turns out, there are two reasons for it. Ease of climbing is the obvious one. But, the main one is camouflage. It is the exact opposite of cars. While you want your car to stay clean, you want Infantry fighting vehicle to absorb the surrounding dust and dirt.
There were also stands of sniper rifles, optics, and Home Front Command. It is a particular camera that used for saving people underground or under ruins (after an earthquake). The camera on the left can go 20 meters deep, and you see everything on the screen on the left.
Regular Shows At Yad La-Shiryon
Here is a cool exposition. A tank was divided into two parts and this way you can see all interiors.
We climbed to the top of the building. When you are on the roof, you understand the importance of this place and why there were many wars there. Latrun hill allows an overview of surrounding valleys, including the road to Jerusalem and on a clear day, you can even see Tel Aviv.
Sherman tank on the tower and Latrun Monastery.
We checked the museum inside the Latrun police station, but probably due to the number of people they divided entrance to slots. We decided not to wait for twenty minutes to see the movie and the exhibits and headed home.
Summary Of Independence Day At Yad La-Shiryon
We spend almost three hours and Yad La-Shiryon, and the best part was leaving. No, I do not mean that it was awful. In fact, it was very nice, our daughter and we liked it. After spending several hours when trying to leave the parking lot in Ramat David Airforce Base, I was delighted when it took us less than five minutes to leave the parking lot near Yad La-Shiryon. Moreover, there are more things that kids can touch and climb on. Thus if you are wondering which one should you visit, Ramat David or Latrun, I would recommend Yad La-Shiryon.
What do you prefer to do on Independence Day? Tell us in the comment below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!