JERUSALEM (Apr. 23)
Heavy security precautions are being taken throughout the country and in the border regions in preparation for Israel’s Independence Day observances Thursday. The police have been urging the public to exercise a high degree of vigilance for possible sabotage attempts by terrorists.
Police stations are already flooded with telephone calls from worried citizens reporting suspicious looking vehicles, parcels and envelopes. But there have been no further cases of attempted sabotage reported since police found a booby-trapped taxi in down-town Jerusalem last week.
Independence Day marking Israel’s 26th anniversary, will begin officially Thursday morning. At 8 p.m. today, sirens will usher in the Day of Remembrance for Israel’s war dead which traditionally precedes Independence Day and is observed mainly at military cemeteries. Flags will be lowered to half mast when the sirens sound, a memorial fire will be kindled near the Western Wall and memorial lights will be lit in all public buildings. The Chief Rabbinate has called on every Israeli family to kindle a memorial candle in their homes.
Unlike past Independence Days, there will be no large-scale military parades in Israel this Thursday. With the Yom Kippur War and the Kiryat Shemona massacre still fresh in memory, the government has cut down on official festivities. But the newly organized grass roots protest movement is planning a massive march in Jerusalem on Thursday.
The 2.5 kilometer route will begin at the bottom of the Knesset hill and extend through the Rehavia residential area–where Mrs. Golda Heir has her home–to the center of town. The march will end with a mass rally at which some of Israel’s top artists will-appear without pay, according to the organizers of the march. They said thousands were expected to turn out for the march and rally which has been billed as the biggest single Independence Day event this year.