Decision to Hold Independence Day Military Parade Meets Opposition

Opposition mounted today to yesterday’s majority decision by the Cabinet to hold a military parade in Jerusalem to mark the 30th anniversary of Israel’s independence next year. Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem expressed objections as did Gen. (Res.) Rehavam Zeevi who was in charge of the last parade five years ago.

In the Knesset, MK David Glass of the National Religious Party, a coalition partner, introduced an urgent motion protesting the government’s decision. Military parades, long a feature of Yom. Haatzmaut, were suspended after the Yom Kippur War. Many within the former Labor-led government regarded them as unnecessary provocations.

Defense Minister Ezer Weizman also opposed the parade on grounds that it would be an unwarranted expense at a time when the defense budget was being cut. But Weizman was overruled by a majority of his Cabinet colleagues, including Premier Menachem Begin who wants the parade to be held. Cabinet secretary Aryeh Naor said there was no official estimate yet of the cost of a parade but the press believes the price tag will be in the neighborhood of IL 100 million.

Proponents of the parade claimed that the Cabinet of former Premier Golda Meir had resolved that the military display should be held every five years and therefore it would not become an annual event of the present government. Kollek suggested a parade that would include military units but would demonstrate Israel’s achievements in many fields, such as its progress in agriculture.

He said that the public’s high regard for the armed forces did not need any proof nor did the army have to prove its strength. The military parade was recommended by the Cabinet’s Symbols and Ceremonies Committee with Begin’s concurrence. The committee also decided that the 30th anniversary will be marked by a full week of events rather than a single 24-hour period as in the past. Actually, events related to what will now be Independence Week will commence next February and will continue until the end of the 1978 Succoth holiday.

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