Thousands celebrate Israel's Independence Day in Montreal

After surviving the Holocaust in her native Romania when it was occupied by the Russians and the Germans, Paula Hadaner now comes out every year to celebrate Israeli Independence Day.

"We had family in Canada, they applied for us to come and we did come (in 1948). And we're lucky we came," Hadaner told CJAD 800.

Hadaner was among the thousands of people who took part in the 18th edition of the Israel Day Rally in Montreal to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the founding of Israel.

A flatbed truck filled with revellers blared lively music from huge speakers as it wended its way from Cabot Square to Place du Canada for celebrations during the noon hour. Both public squares and some downtown streets turned into a sea of blue and white Israeli flags, with a scattering of Canadian and Quebec flags.

Volunteer Harriet Pardo who was helping to man the table offering up Israeli flags hasn't missed a rally yet.

"I'm happy to see many people come by and ask to take flags and participate, not only the Jewish community but other people," said Pardo,

"I love Israel. I celebrate Israel, it's Israel's birthday - it's almost as old as I am."

Gordon Vineberg and his wife Irma said it was important for the community to celebrate together.

"It's a celebration of our accomplishments, it's a celebration of life," said Vineberg.