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Israel is home. It was from the very first time I stepped foot on her soil 20 years ago.

I came with my family to visit my uncle. We spent 2 weeks driving from north to south, east to west, seeing as much as we could in the short amount of time that we had. 2 years later at the age of 19, I came on my own and spent 8 months on a kibbutz as a volunteer. I made friends with some of the local girls on the kibbutz and we went traveling together with some of the other volunteers, spent time in the north and in hostels in Tel Aviv. Another 2 trips and I knew I would one day live here.

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Paul and I discussed moving to Israel for ages but it was never the right time. Also, Paul had never actually been to Israel so I think it was more of an abstract concept to him. Until he came for a visit and that was that.

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We have been here now for just under a year and a half and each day I fall more in love with our home.

This week marks Israels birthday, her independence, Yom Ha’atzmaut. The streets are filled with flags, cars are dressed up with flags, balconies have flags flying. The kids are learning the history of our home and come home every day excited about celebrating. 

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The day before Yom Ha’atzmaut is a day of mourning, Yom Ha’zikaron. A day where we remember all the fallen, the soldiers, the victims of terror, those that have given their lives for the freedom we now enjoy.

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This beautiful country, this proud people go from heartfelt mourning and deep grief to celebration and joy and I can say with absolute certainty that I am proud to be a part of it, proud to be Israeli.

**all photos taken by Paul

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