Happy Independence Day!

Israel’s Foreign Ministry published a special video to mark the country’s 68th Independence Day. The charming video titled ’68 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Israel’ is now trending on social media.

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A Wider Bridge particularly likes fact number 55, which introduces Dana International as the cultural queen of our country. “Israel is not a monarchy, but does have a queen,” the video says. “Her name is Dana International and she’s the first transgender person to win the Eurovision Contest”. While we continue to see Dana hopping around with a crown on her head and images from the Gay Pride parade in the background, the video continues to fact number 56, “TimeOut Magazine has crowned Tel Aviv as Gay Capital of the Middle East.”

Dana International told Israeli website Mako Pride that she was moved by the video “regardless of the charming and amusing reason that’s related to me,” she said. “There are certain circles, in which really it’s not fashionable today to love and embrace our country. I’m really advocating this coming back, to be able to puff out your chest and declare with pride; I am an Israeli!”

At night on Independence Day, after concerts in Ramat Gan, Dana will fly to London to perform in an Independence Day party of the Jewish community there. “I am proud to be this kind of ambassador from Israel,” she said, “after all, in how many countries in the world does that happen? So why won’t we all be proud of our Israel.”

Dana ended with a special Independence Day show for the LGBT community. “To my family, to this great community, that even if I was born straight I would have really wanted to belong to – a community that is fighting, that chooses to fight through the difficulties and sorrows and hangs on to life and tries to always see the optimistic side and be happy – these three words, ‘happy Independence day,’ have an extra meaning to us. Each and every one of us has been through his or her own personal independence, a different and private, but always complex, challenging and brave way to independence. So for those who already came to Independence, and for those who are on the way there: Happy Independence Day!”