LONDON (Apr. 27)
Look out, Spice Girls: Here comes Israel’s jubilee. The largest gathering of Jews ever recorded in Britain — about 20,000 – – converged on the Wembley Conference Center in London this week to attend celebrations to mark Israel’s 50th anniversary.
The crowd was made up of members of the London Jewish community, as well representatives of other, smaller communities who were brought to the festivities by a fleet of about 200 buses.
The highlights of the evening’s entertainment were two performances of “The Spirit of Israel,” a dramatization of Israel’s development through the decades, with British stage and screen actors Maureen Lipman and Tom Conti, Britain’s National Symphony Orchestra and an Israeli cast.
The performances of the show were sold out — a significant achievement given that the Spice Girls were performing live at the same time, just a few hundred yards away inside Wembley Stadium.
Other events included a festival of Israeli films, a photographic exhibition, lectures and debates, “Israel-discovery” areas for children, entertainers and dance groups.
Star attractions included Israeli psychic and entertainer Uri Geller and Israeli soccer players who currently play in Britain.
Other events included Israeli songs, dances, a drama workshop and a reunion for members of Zionist youth movements.