JERUSALEM (Apr. 16)
Israeli youths captured the top prizes in Israel’s annual International Bible Quiz held here today, a traditional event of the Independence Day celebrations, In another event, pianist Arthur Rubinstein delighted a standing-room-only audience at the Jerusalem Theater with a performance of Beethoven’s Em- peror Concerto, accompanied by the Israel Broad casting Symphony Orchestra. Afterwards, the orchestra performed Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony The concert, a benefit arranged by Mayor Teddy Kollek for young music students in Jerusalem, was broadcast live on television and radio.
Both events stressed the cultural and educational themes of this year’s Independence Day festivities, a sharp departure from the heavy emphasis on military pageantry in past years. Apart from the formal receptions honoring Israel’s 27th birthday, most of the celebrations in the capital were impromptu affairs.
Young and old gathered in the streets and parks of the city singing and dancing before bonfires. Performing troupes, hired by the municipality, provided free entertainment for crowds in the central square, Independence Day parties were held in many private homes.
ISRAELI YOUNGSTERS TAKE TOP PRIZES
This year’s Bible Quiz drew 24 contestants from 14 countries. But they were outclassed by the Israeli youngsters. Ephraim Korngut, a 16-year-old student at the Bnei Akiva High School in Jerusalem, won first place. The runner-up-was Yaacov Hildesheim, who lives near Haifa. Shmuel Toledano, an Israeli, tied for third place with Heidi Veltzer, of South Africa, Shoshana Bookler, of Argentina, came out fifth, All five youngsters won IL 1000 scholarships provided by the government and the Jewish Agency and books of Bible commentaries.
The quiz, televised and broadcast by the Armed Forces Radio, was conducted by Interior Minister Yosef Burg and Deputy Chief Army Chaplain Rabbi Gad Navon who served as quiz-masters. The top prizes and 19 consolation prizes were presented by Education Minister Aharon Yadlin. This year, none of the American contestants–six boys and girls–made it to the final round. Although most of the contestants spoke Hebrew, some questions had to be translated into English, Persian and Swedish.
Seats to the Rubinstein concert sold for IL 75-100. The theater steps and wings were crowded with people who paid IL 30 to stand or sit on the floor. Rubinstein’ and Alexander Schneider, conductor of the Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra, performed free. All profits, estimated at IL 80,000, go to a fund to provide free musical events for young music students in Jerusalem.
SOLDIERS RECEIVE PLAQUES
This morning, President Ephraim Katzir, presented plaques to 110 outstanding soldiers in ceremonies at the Presidential residence. Chief of Staff Gen, Mordechai Gur read out the citations as each soldier–men and women–stepped forward to receive their awards while their prow parents beamed.
At noon, Mayor and Mrs. Kollek welcomed guests to the Mayor’s traditional reception at The Citadel, near David’s Tower. Soft drinks flowed as the Jerusalem Youth Orchestra played marches, waltzes and Israeli tunes. Some 6000 people attended the reception, including Israeli officials, Arab notables, South American ambassadors, and French, Italian and Spanish consuls, The consuls refused to enter inside the Old City because they consider that to be part of the occupied territory, and instead shook hands with Kollek on a platform outside the walls which is considered no-man’s land.
In another traditional Independence Day event, the entire Cabinet visited Katzir’s home to pay respects to the Chief of State. Premier Yitzhak Rabin noted in his brief remarks that the past year has been marked by a great strengthening of Israel’s army in manpower and in foreign and locally made weapons, Katzir said he was convinced that the nation would accept any burden that was required of it to bring peace closer and ensure the strengthening of the State.