Mark 2nd Anniversary of Jerusalem’s Reunification, 21st Year of Statehood

Israel marked today the second anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem and the 21st anniversary of the founding of the Jewish State against a background of Arab-inspired incidents and some efforts to shut down schools and businesses in the occupied areas. Israelis celebrated the anniversary of statehood on April 23 in accordance with the Hebrew calendar. Today’s anniversary was based on the Gregorian calendar. When Old Jerusalem was surrendered by the Jordanians on June 7, (27 Iyar) to Brig. Gen. Uzzi Narkiss, the central command chief, all of Jerusalem came under Jewish jurisdiction for the first time in nearly 2,000 years.

Police reported that 30 Arabs were detained for questioning today following two grenade explosions in East Jerusalem near Herod’s Gate last night. There were no injuries from the blasts. East Jerusalem shopkeepers delayed opening their shops this morning but the Old City was back to business almost as usual by noon. Strike calls for the anniversary had been distributed by several clandestine organizations but apparently were largely ignored. The day was a Catholic holiday and Christian schools had no classes. The appearance of many pupils on the streets spurred reports of a general school strike but classes were normal in Moslem and Government schools.

In the West Bank, Nablus was reported to be the only town in the occupied areas to be observing a total strike on the anniversary of Statehood. Partial strikes were reported in Hebron, Tulkarem and Kalkilya but conditions were normal generally in Jenin and the Gaza Strip. The day was marred in Gaza town by the detonation of two explosive charges in local markets in which some 25 Arabs were injured. Israeli soldiers broke up a march in Ramallah by 150 Arab women protesting the occupation of the West Bank town.

Israeli police and security forces took special steps to prevent any large scale disorders but most incidents were minor. A hand grenade was tossed last night at an Israeli Army jeep near the Old City wall but there were no casualties. Public transit was reported normal in the occupied areas.

Wreath were placed today at graves of Israelis killed in the battle for East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. The main commemoration ceremony was held in Jerusalem at Ammunition Hill, scene of the fiercest fighting in that battle. The event was attended by Mayor Teddy Kollek and the then commander of the paratroop brigade which spearheaded the fight, Brig. Motta Gur. Jerusalem Day was marked in schools throughout Israel. Classes were opened with assemblies addressed by school principals. A special parade will be held tomorrow at all Army bases and installations in commemoration of the Six-Day War.

Prayers were chanted at the Western Wall yesterday and some 3,000 members of B’nai Akiva, the National Religious Party youth organization, met for early morning prayer services at the Western Wall after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The observance began with the naming yesterday of a main road leading to a new housing project in East Jerusalem for the late Premier Levi Eshkol. The housing project, for both Arabs and Jews, was named Ramat Eshkol. Participants in the ceremony included Premier Golda Meir, Mayor Kollek, Housing Minister Mordecai Bentov and several of the Army commanders who led troops in the battle for the Old City. The first families are expected to move into Ramat Eshkol next September. Elsewhere in the city, kaddish was recited at East Jerusalem cemeteries by families of some 90 Israelis who were killed in the first day of battle.

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