JERUSALEM (Jul. 7)
United Nations military observers and members of the consular corps in this city this morning saw Israel’s Jerusalem garrison on parade and heard its commander lay claim to the city as the capital of Israel.
In a speech accepting a velvet military tanner sent to him by Israel, the com-mending general the Sixth Brigade, David Shealtiel, declared: “The enemy turns his eyes towards Jerusalem, the eternal seat of our eternal people. It will be a savage and merciless battle without retreat. Our fate will be victory or annihilation .We shall fight to the last man among us for our survival and our capital city. This conviction forces us to be as ruthless as those who stand in our path.
“This time,” Shaltiel continued, “we shall utilize all the means at our command, without a single consideration other than our existence and our triumph. Good and considerable equipment is in our hands and we shall demonstrate our strength to the enemy. Soldiers of Israel–forward to victory! Add laurels to your flag!”
The U.N. observers interpreted the claim to establish Israel’s capital in Jerusalem as reaction to Palestine mediator Count Folke Bernadotte’s proposal to place the city under Arab rule. Shealtiel’s reference to “utilizing all means” is interpreted here to mean that the Jewish garrison new has artillery and is prepared to use it even against the Old City, where Arab military targets and the religious shrines of the three major faiths are hopelessly mixed.
The Jewish fighting men, plus 50 girls–some of whom carried rifles and submachine guns–were drawn up in neat formations under a hot summer sun on a school playground as Jewish dignitaries, United Nations observers–headed by Swedish Col. Nils Brunsson–and several members of the consular corps entered the shaded reviewing stand.
CHIEF RABBI PRESENTS BANNER; U.N. OFFICERS SALUTE
A police band played waltz melodies until Gen. Shealtiel appeared on the scene and the flag-presentation ceremony began. Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Herzog, wearing a top hat and a long frock coat, stepped to the microphone and in a brief address presented the banner to the Sixth Brigade “on behalf of the Jewish people and the Provisional Government of Israel.” The flag is emblazoned with the brigade’s insignia–an olive branch entwined around an erect bread-bladed sword.
Shealtiel handed the banner to a kneeling standard-bearer. In tribute to those who had fallen in battle, the banner was dropped in salute as the band played a few bars from Beethoven’s funeral march, followed by the chanting of the traditional prayer for the dead by a cantor. A brief address by the Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Ben Zion Uziel, followed.
The U.N. officers saluted as the Jewish national anthem was played, concluding the ceremonies. As the platoons marched past and out into the street, the British Army pattern on which the Israeli forces are organized showed very clearly. Not only do the Israelis wear the British-type brown berets and high, black shoes, but they also drill in columns of three – a traditional British formation.
In addition to infantry units, there were also military police, civil police end rifle-carrying fire brigade members. In the street they were joined by Israeli Army armored cars and trucks which exhibited the Jews’ over-size mortar–the “Davidka”–which is home-made, but highly effective. There were also a handful of pack mules, but the artillery which rumors said would be shown publicly for the first time, was left out of sight at the last minute.