Israel Honors Its War Dead;mrs. Meir Says the Desire of Israel is Peace, Not Conquest

Israel honored its war dead today with solemn memorial services in cities and towns all over the country and at the 17 main military cemeteries. The 24 hour period of remembrance which traditionally precedes the Independence Day celebrations, was ushered in at sundown yesterday when President Zalman Shazar lit a beacon at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. A crowd of 10,000 watched as sirens sounded and flags were lowered to half mast. Cafes, movie houses and other places of entertainment closed. Lights were dimmed all along Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv’s main business and entertainment thoroughfare and the action was repeated in the downtown areas of Haifa, Jerusalem and scores of other cities and townships. A torchlight was lit at the entrance to the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv where an honor guard of Haganah veterans and other underground fighting groups of the pre-statehood era stood in silence. At ten a.m. local time today, sirens sounded again and all pedestrians and traffic halted to observe a minute’s silence in honor of the nation’s fallen soldiers and other war victims. Speaking on television last night, Premier Golda Meir comforted the families of the war dead. “The source of strength of the bereaved families in Israel and the source of bravery of those fallen sons is one,” she said. “Their ardent desire is for peace. Not the love of war, not the desire of conquest and not the negation of other peoples’ rights.” Mrs. Meir said, “We cannot bring back the lives of our lost sons, their tremendous talent, their joy and creativity. Let us only try to be worthy of them in our lives and deeds as their memory compels us.”

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