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Tel Aviv joins cities scrapping Independence Day fireworks in nod to vets with PTSD

Mayor says he’s hoping for ‘an environmentally friendly and an even more impressive alternative’ next year; culture minister urges other municipal heads to follow suit

Israelis watch a fireworks show during Israel's Independence Day celebrations after more than a year of coronavirus restrictions in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Israelis watch a fireworks show during Israel's Independence Day celebrations after more than a year of coronavirus restrictions in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Tel Aviv’s mayor on Sunday announced the cancellation of the city’s fireworks show for Independence Day, citing objections from military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He thus joined other cities that have announced they will cancel fireworks displays, including Herzliya, Netanya, Ra’anana and Ramat Gan.

The move was hailed by Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper, who canceled the fireworks show at the main Independence Day ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem due to concerns over how they affect veterans with PTSD.

The fireworks show in Tel Aviv is typically a major event, with thousands gathering in the city’s central Rabin Square and watching the display.

Independence Day this year starts Wednesday evening and ends Thursday.

“One of the things that influenced this decision was requests from soldiers with post-trauma that asked to cancel the show, as well as for people with disabilities,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement.

“I hope that next year an environmentally friendly and an even more impressive alternative is found,” he added.

According to Huldai, a “comprehensive survey” was conducted before deciding to forgo the fireworks display.

“I call on other municipal leaders who have not yet done so, it’s still not too late,” Tropper was quoted as saying by Channel 12 news.

There has been concern for years over the impact that Independence Day fireworks have on military veterans and others with PTSD from wars or terror attacks. Another date of concern has traditionally been the Purim festival, which some mark with the use of firecrackers.

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