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Israeli Orchestra Under Heavy Guard

The 106-piece Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with guest conductor Zubin Mehta and violinist Itzhak Perlman, performed to a crowd of 2700 enthusiastic listeners at Kennedy Center last night under the most extensive security arrangements for a cultural event in Washington’s history.

The audience received a leaflet with their programs from Patrick Hayes, managing director of the Washington Performing Arts Society, which assured them that “in light of recent events, every precaution has been taken for security and safety tonight, but we also ask your help and cooperation as follows: If you notice anything unusual by way of a box or package or in the behavior of a member of the audience, please raise your hand high as a signal to a security officer, who will be stationed nearby.”

The extraordinary measures were part of tightened security conditions taken by the administration since the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich on Sept. 5 and the rash of booby-trapped letters mailed from Amsterdam to Israeli officials in this country.

Among those in attendance at last night’s concert were Dr. Henry Kissinger who represented President Nixon, Democratic Presidential nominee Sen. George McGovern, Secretary of State William P. Rogers, and Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban. Police and plainclothesmen were everywhere in the audience and in the corridors. All persons were asked to leave their coats and packages in the cloak room. During intermission, only those in emergency situations were permitted to leave the main corridor. Outside the Kennedy Center, mounted police, motorcycle officers, patrol car and foot policemen guarded all approaches and entrances to the huge marble center on the Potomac River bank.

The performance last night was part of a national concert tour by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra celebrating Israel’s 25th anniversary. On Oct. 11 and 12, the orchestra will perform at Carnegie Hall, with pianist Daniel Barenboim as guest soloist in the first concert and cellist Gregor Piati-gorsky the guest for the second.

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