Menu JTA Search

Israel Inaugurates 19th Anniversary Celebrations with Rites Atop Mount Herzl

Celebrations marking the 19th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel were launched here this evening as Kaddish Luz, Speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, lit a ceremonial torch atop Mount Herzl. The Mount Herzl rites formally brought to a close the observance of Remembrance Day, in which Israelis paid their respects to those who fell in the War of Independence, and also marked the beginning of the Independence Day festivities throughout the country.

From the northern limits of Galilee, where Syrian-backed El Fatah terrorists have concentrated their activity in recent months, to Israel’s southernmost port of Eilat on the Red Sea, flags were raised from half-mast positions and torches were lit to signal the start of street dancing and merrymaking that was to last through the entire night.

The first of the evening’s mass public events here was a military tattoo in the Hebrew University Stadium, in which 1,000 soldiers representing all branches of the Israel Defense Forces, took part in a colorful ceremony in front of 19 huge beacons — one for each year of Israel’s existance. The troops included settlers from Upper Galilee, again in the forefront of Israel’s endangered borders, and veterans of the famed Palmach shock troops who liberated Galilee 19 years ago.

MILITARY PARADE TO BE HELD TODAY; ENVOYS OF MAJOR POWERS JOIN IN BOYCOTT

Tomorrow morning, the traditional military parade will be held here, with some 1,500 Israeli troops passing in review before President Zalman Shazar, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin and other Israeli leaders in a reviewing stand in the capital.

Despite the decision by the Israel Government to limit the Jerusalem parade to a size and strength conforming to the terms of the armistice agreement, it seemed certain this evening that for the first time in Israel’s 19-year history, the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France, West Germany, the Soviet Union and a score of other countries will boycott the event.

The military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization are also expected to boycott the parade. (A United Nations spokesman in New York said yesterday that Israel’s Independence Day parade in Jerusalem “will intensify the already dangerous tension” in the Middle East.)

The members of the diplomatic corps, however, are expected to attend a reception after the parade tomorrow, to be given by President Shazar. In spite of the boycott by the diplomatic corps of the parade here tomorrow, many foreign guests are expected to be on hand. These will include Gen. Pierre Koenig of France; the Chiefs of Staff of Chile and Liberia; Jacques Soustelle. exiled French opposition leader; and representatives of the French air and arms industries.

NEXT STORY