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Jewish History, Heritage Celebrated In Miami For Israel's Independence Day

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a night of music, dancing and food in Downtown Miami all to celebrate Israel's 70th Independence Day anniversary.

"For us to have a country of our own means everything.  We've had it but I can't believe it's been 70 years," said Droma Gringarta who attended the event.

The Consulate General of Israel in Miami hosted the event at the Alfred Dupont Building.  The Consul General calls Israel's independence the Jewish miracle, not just for Jews --- but for the world.

"It's a become of hope and light to all of humanity and this is I think the reason so many people celebrate Israel with that," said Consul General Lior Haiat.

More than 500 local, state and federal community leaders were on hand for the reception, which brought together a wide arrange of guests from the business, cultural, civic, religious, and political realms.

U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was honored for her years of service to the United States, and her strong support of Israel.

Earlier in the day over at Marlins Park thousands of students from Jewish day schools and others around the county spent the day celebrating the anniversary.

"We have deep ties to Israel," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

"Their enthusiasm is always great their love of Israel is also something that you really have to admire.  These kids here learning about their roots."

In Israel, a 70-hour spectacle of parties and parades is marking 70 years.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lit an honorary torch in a spectacular ceremony in Jerusalem and opening a day of celebrations.

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