Itzhak Ben Zvi Sworn in for Second Term As President of Israel
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Itzhak Ben Zvi Sworn in for Second Term As President of Israel

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Seventy-three-year-old Itzhak Ben Zvi was sworn in today for a second five-year term as President of Israel in a festively-adorned Knesset hall, the floor of which, only a few hours before, had been spattered with blood from the wounds of five Cabinet ministers who were victims of a madman’s grenade attack.

Mr. Ben Zvi entered the Knesset at 11 A.M. sharp to the blasts of two shofars. He was welcomed by Speaker Josef Sprinzak, who called on him to swear allegiance to Israel and her laws. Members of the diplomatic corps, headed by Soviet Ambassador Alexander Abramov as acting dean, stood in front of the visitors’ gallery while the President was sworn in. Guns outside boomed in a 21-gun salute.


Departing from his original text at the start of his inaugural address, Mr. Ben Zvi expressed in his own name and that of Israel the sense of “profoundest shock” at Tuesday’s grenade attack. In the name of the nation, the President expressed wishes for a speedy recovery for the five wounded Cabinet Ministers, four of whom, including Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, were hospitalized and absent from the ceremonies.

The inauguration ceremony began with the departure of a Knesset delegation to the President’s residence to invite him to take the oath of office. Responding to the invitation, the President expressed special gratification that the delegation represented the entire Knesset from left to right, symbolizing the nation’s unity.

In his inaugural address, the President stressed the importance of preserving this unity for majority and minority alike, citing the Scriptural principle: “Ye shall have one law and one judgment.”

Thousands lined along all sides of Parliament Square heard the ceremony via loudspeakers. The audience vented their enthusiasm and gratification at the miraculously narrow escape of the ministers by cheering each dignitary as he entered the building, which was cordoned off for security reasons.

Former members of Knesset, Moslem and Christian religious leaders, Supreme Court members and Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan were among the distinguished visitors in the hall. The wives of the President and of the Prime Minister and Mrs. Chaim Weizmanr sat in the presidential box encircled by representatives of 27 foreign missions.


The President, who appeared deeply moved, donned a hat as he placed his hand on the Bible in taking the oath which was followed by mass singing of the Hatikvah. All members joined the Speaker in a lusty cheer: “Long Live the President.”

Reviewing the events of his first five years as President, Mr. Ben Zvi discussed the Sinai campaign, which was launched one year ago today. He said it had “achieved freedom of approach and passage by sea to our gateway to the east, the port of Elath.”

“Even the nations which at first opposed the campaign itself or doubted its justification are little by little changing their attitude and realizing it was not for conquest of foreign territories that we made such painful sacrifices but for the sake of Israel’s survival, he said.

“Security,” he said, “is not an aim in itself but a means for the redemption of the homeland’s soil from desolation and for deliverance of Israel’s scattered sons returning to Israel. We must still aim for this goal in the tenth year not less than in the first year of Israel’s existence.”

Noting that half a million of the nation’s 900,000 immigrants were from Moslem countries, Mr. Ben Zvi expressed the “fervent hope” that the stream of immigration would not be halted nor slowed down and that “we will be privileged to welcome immigrants from all parts of the Diaspora, from countries near and from the distant as well as from the countries of Eastern Europe, the gates of many o which are still locked and sealed.”

He expressed the “prayerful hope” that the next five years would witness peace between all nations as well as “the advancement of Israel, the intensification of the building of our country and the homecoming of the scattered sons of our people.”

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