After honoring 120 outstanding IDF soldiers and officers at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, President Shimon Peres celebrated Israel's 66th birthday in a duet with Israeli singer Rita.
Cuddling and exchanging kisses, Rita and Peres sang "Oof Gozal" ("Fly, Young Bird") by Israeli singer Arik Einstein.
The event "Singing Independence" at the President's Residence honored the memory of Arik Einstein and all songs performed were from the beloved singer's catalog.
(Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"Shimon, hold me close. You're going to leave our nest too, right?" Rita told Peres during the performance, referring to his impending retirement from the role of president.
Ever the optimist, the 90-year-old president replied with, "but I'm going to fly."
(Photo: Gil Yohanan) (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was joined by Shlomi Saranga for a rendition of Einstein's "Shir HaShayara" ("The Procession Song").
|Netanyahu and Shlomi Saranga sing|
"The soldiers standing behind us act in the air, on land and at sea, at noon and in the dead of night, to ensure the safety of our country, and I can tell you - I know there's someone to count on," the prime minister said, thanking the soldiers and their families in the audience.
(Photo: Gil Yohanan) Sara Netanyahu watching her husband sing (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon was joined by Koby Afllalo to sing "Ima Adama" ("Mother Earth"), while IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz was joined by Yuval Dayan to sing "Shir Shel Aharey Milhama" ("A Song For After the War").
"The State of Israel is a place that, unfortunately, from time to time experiences war, and we of course must be prepared for them, but at the end of the day there's a lot of optimism here. This song mentions hope, and hope in the State of Israel is very important - not just as an anthem ("The Tikvah") but as a way of thought. It's an optimistic song," the chief of staff explained his selection.
The IDF band also provided entertainment with a string of Arik Einstein songs.