Israel Celebrates Independence Day with Huge Military Parade
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Israel Celebrates Independence Day with Huge Military Parade

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Israeli jet planes swooped and circled overhead today as Israeli heavy guns rumbled along the streets of Haifa followed by jaunty arm-swinging foot troops in the eighth celebration of Israel Independence Day. More than 250,000 Israelis crowded the city of Haifa today to watch their men and women soldiers demonstrate the Jewish State’s readiness to repulse any Arab “second round” invasion.

The parade was led off by Sherman tanks, half-tracks and French heavy artillery pieces on a bright sunny day that blended the greenish slopes of Mt. Carmel with the white surf and blue sea along Haifa’s coastal streets, through which the cream of Israel’s youth marched. Cheer after cheer rang out as border policemen were followed by women’s units, youth battalions and detachments of paratroopers, infantry, navy and air men. On the reviewing stand were President Ben Zvi, Premier David Ben Gurion, Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Moshe Dayan and Mrs. Vera Weizmann, widow of Israel’s first President.

The marching units were succeeded by dance groups of all varieties, including parties representing various national minorities in Israel the Druze and others. In fact, in Haifa as elsewhere in Israel, dancing had not halted since last night when the holiday was ushered in atop Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem where Knesset Speaker Joseph Sprinzak lit the giant “Independence Candle,” prototype of hundreds of thousands of other lights. This ceremony gave way to all-night dancing in the streets amid the staccato bark of fireworks.

An exhibition of Israel-manufactured small arms was opened in Jerusalem yesterday in advance of the celebration. The arms, whose quality brought praise from experts among the viewers, demonstrated Israel’s independence of the great powers in this field and underlined the Jewish State’s drive for self-sufficiency in every field of manufacturing.

Included were examples of virtually every type of weapon carried by soldiers, as well as various types of bombs–aerial smoke bombs, artillery shells, anti-tank shells and anti-aircraft guns and shells. Other Israel-made war material exhibited included spare parts for tanks and cannon. M. Gad, director of Israel’s military production industry, said that Israel was able to manufacture this wide assortment of arms because of the foresight of Premier Ben Gurion who, immediately after the end of World War II, sent emissaries to various countries to purchase machinery for the production of arms.

British Ambassador J.M.W. Nichols presented a huge menorah, a gift of the people and Parliament of Britain, to the State of Israel, at an impressive ceremony in Jerusalem yesterday. The candelabra will remain on a temporary site in the center of the city until the Knesset building is completed and the work, by sculptor Menno Fikan, is moved there. Ambassador Nichols expressed his admiration for the “steadiness of the people of Israel” in the current critical period and compared the British tercentenary of the return of Jews to Britain and the eighth anniversary of the independence of Israel.

(Israel’s Independence Day was celebrated today by Jewish communities in many lands, according to cables received by the Jewish. Telegraphic Agency headquarters in New York. Celebrations were held in London, Paris, Johannesburg, Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and in other capitals. In New York, radio and television programs marked the celebration. Among those who appeared on the television programs were Israel Ambassador Abba Eban, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and other dignitaries.)

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