Israel’s Independence Day Parade Stresses Country’s Defense Power

A half million spectators hailed Israel’s military power displayed in the 17th Independence Day parade here today. Three hundred jet and transport planes roared overhead and 300 military vehicles rumbled along the parade route with the hundreds of marchers.

American-made Hawk anti-aircraft missiles, West German anti-aircraft guns and locally adapted American Sherman tanks, as well as French 105-mm guns, were placed on display for the first time. Thousands of tourists were among the huge crowd who watched the parade.

The event constituted a parade of military strength which emphasized the defensive aspects of Israel’s military preparedness. Again the favorites of the parade watchers were the Women’s Corps, the border police, the recoilless guns and the infantry troops. The observers also applauded the Israeli-manufactured 160-mm mortars. Many of the watchers had waited patiently in positions along the route all through the night to be assured of best vantage points for viewing.

The first appearance of 40-mm anti-aircraft guns was followed by 120-mm and 160-mm heavy mortars, medium and heavy self-propelled guns in the 105-mm and 155-mm class. Tank units included light French tanks, Israeli-modified Shermans and Centurions.

A forest of flags marked the start of the foot columns, led by a unit of cadets wearing white embroidered headgear, followed by the Air Cadets, the Women’s Corps and the Infantry troops. Minorities units, border police units, men and women of the Nahal units, military police, Israeli police, engineers and signal units followed. The marching column ended, as usual, with paratroopers.

In a thundering flypast which was seen throughout Israel, 60 Mirages, many French My store and Super-Mystere Jets, Vatours, Oragans and Fougas Magisters drew spectator cheers. Also participating were Stratocruisers, helicopters and Piper Cubs. A display of aerial acrobatics was a feature of the flypast.

On the reviewing stand with President Zalman Shazar, Premier Levi Eshkol and Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin, were Mrs. Chaim Weizmann and Mrs. Izhak Ben-Zvi, the widows of Israel’s first two Presidents.

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