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Military Parades Mark Celebration of Independence Day in Israel

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As Israel marked its seventh Independence Day today with demonstrations and parades by the Army, Navy and Air Force in Tel Aviv, Beersheba and Afula, government leaders were advising the Israel people to be of good cheer and not to be too concerned over the future. Premier Moshe Sharett told Jews throughout the world that Israel had reached the half-way mark in its struggle for economic self-sufficiency, while Defense Minister David Ben Gurion told the Israelis that they had no reason to be too upset by recent anti-Israel declarations, “since we have overcome more serious situations.”

New French light tanks and new French medium artillery were the highlights of the main Army parade in Tel Aviv. While dozens of propeller-driven and jet aircraft filled the skies, jeeps flying a variety of unit flags led off the parade, followed closely by American heavy tanks, the new French armored units and scores of half-tracks carrying mobile infantry. The mobile unit with its variety of cannon was followed by infantry units, field engineers, commandos, border police and youth brigades. Navy and Air Force cadets and regular police also marched.

At Beersheba, where Development Minister Dov Joseph took the salute, the position of honor in the parade was held by the representatives of ten Negev settlements which were besieged or attacked by Arab forces and repulsed the invaders in the War of Liberation. A special liberation flag and a scroll of honor from President Ben Zvi were turned over to each of these settlements. Similar presentations were featured at the celebration in Afula, where settlements in the Galilee and Jordan and Jezreel Valleys were honored for holding off Arab armies.

Dancers who had made merry all night in Tel Aviv lined the streets to cheer the young men and women of the armed services. They were joined by many of the older citizens during the morning. With a slight breeze breaking through the heat, there was little need for first aid crews which had been alerted. Many families poured into the countryside for picnics.

ISRAELIS TOLD OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS; 50,000 HEAR BEN GURION

In a broadcast to the nation, and to Jews in all other countries, Premier Sharett reviewed the accomplishments of seven years of statehood, comparing the young republic with a man scaling a mountain height. Israel, he said, had reached the half-way point and must continue until the pinnacle. But, he warred, the second half of the climb is always more difficult and “as long as we have not reached the summit, namely, the peak of economic stability, we may slip back.”

Addressing 55,000 Israelis and tourists in Ramath Gan Stadium where the Army put on a demonstration of its latest weapons, Defense Minister Ben Gurion said that Israel’s future depends not on outsiders, but on the Jews. He advised Israelis and friends of Israel not to be panicked by recent anti-Israel statements at Bandung, at the United Nation, in Moscow or elsewhere, noting that similar and much more serious crises had been weathered.

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