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Thousands Crowd Jerusalem in Traditional Passover Pilgrimage Despite Heat

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Thousands of Israelis from all parts of the country joined the traditional Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem today despite an unseasonable heat wave that sent the thermometer soaring into the nineties. Special trains brought hundreds of pilgrims to the Capital where they were greeted by the chief rabbis of Israel’s major cities and towns. The traditional procession to the top of Mt. Zion was made, as in past years, but with an important difference, Instead of halting at what was the beginning of no-mans land up to last June, the throngs proceeded into the old city and visited the West Wall where special prayers were recited.

The first soldier to be held in the Sinai Desert since the Israelites left Egypt 3,280 years ago was attended by thousands of soldiers and civilians Friday night. The seder, at which Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief chaplain of Israel’s armed forces, officiated, featured a choir of 200 soldiers. Special guests were a group of 200 children who recited the traditional Four Questions in unison.

Arab Christians, outnumbered by pilgrims from abroad, observed Easter Sunday in Jerusalem and Jaffa. The Israel Government was represented at church services in the capital by S. Toledano, the Prime Minister’s adviser on Arab affairs. Streets in East Jerusalem and in Jaffa were festively decorated by the respective municipalities.

The Israeli Army, meanwhile, held a seder on Mt. Scopus attended by Brigadier Narkiss, commander of the central front. A special seder for wounded soldiers was held at Hadassah Hospital. Tourists had a second seder at Hamlin House. A heat wave failed to prevent thousands from visiting the West Wall Jerusalem or the international flow show in Haifa.

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