PARIS (May. 7)
Over 120,000 people gathered here today to celebrate Israel’s 30th anniversary in an unprecedented display of political and popular support for the Jewish State. President Giscard d’Estaing sent a message of friendship and goodwill and the government was officially represented by Health Minister Simone Veil. Practically all of France’s political parties, government and opposition alike, participated in the mass rally.
Among the dozens of political figures who attended the meeting was the leader of the Socialist opposition, Francois Mitterand; former Premier Mourice Couve de Murville; and the leader of the Gaullist Parliamentary faction, Robert Chinaud. Knesset speaker Yitzhak Shamir and Labor Alignment opposition leader Shimon Peres represented the State of Israel.
A message from Premier Menachem Begin was read, but the ceremony highlight was the reading of Israel’s independence proclamation. As the last words, “and hereby we proclaim the State of Israel,” was said by actor Daniel Gelin, the crowd went wild. People started kissing, singing and rejoicing.
The throng which attended the rally and the fervor of the participants clearly showed the popular sympathy which Israel continues to enjoy in France. A government deputy told the JTA “It is obvious that we shall have to take into consideration the wishes and sympathies of such a large segment of our population.”