New York City Observes Israel’s Independence Day

New York City observed Israel’s Independence Day here officially today with colorful ceremonies at City Hall Plaza, watched by about 2, 000 persons. Ranking members of the city’s administration, headed by Mayor Robert F.Wagner, led in the celebration. Ambassador Katriel Katz, Israel’s Consul-General in New York, received from the Mayor the official embossed city document proclaiming today as Israel Day for all residents of New York City.

Mayor Wagner read to the audience the text of the greetings sent to Israel by President Kennedy on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the State of Israel. He emphasized New York City’s “bonds of sympathy and understanding” for Israel, and stressed that “New Yorkers are, always have been, and always will be in the front line of those bespeaking Israel’s interests and defending her vital security.”

Ambassador Katz read special greetings from Israel’s Premier David Ben-Gurion to Mayor Wagner in appreciation of the city’s observance of Israel’s national holiday. “The proclamation of Israel Day by Mayor Wagner, ” Mr. Katz said, “represents for us more than a gesture of good will, more than a reflection of the fact that the city has such a large Jewish population, more than the tangible feeling of warmth evinced for Israel by this city’s administration and its predecessors–it signals the recognition of the common goals of democracy, freedom and progress of our two countries. “

Solemn tribute was paid at the celebration to the memory of Israel’s late President Izhak Ben-Zvi. The traditional El Maleh Rachmin was chanted by a choir of the Jewish Ministers Cantors Association, the invocation was given by Rabbi Israel Mowshowitz, president of the New York Board of Rabbis. A prayer for peace was recited by the Rev. William S. Van Meter, executive secretary of Christian Social Relations of the Protestant Council of the City of New York. The Rev. Edward J. Sainders, chaplain of the First United States Army, gave the benediction as the representative of Francis Cardinal Spellman.

(Israel’s 15th anniversary was also observed in ceremonies in London, Paris, Stock holm and other cities throughout the world, with newspapers carrying lengthy articles on Israel’s achievements since the establishment of the State.)

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