Government Drops Idea of a Military Parade to Mark Israel’s 35th Anniversay

The government has dropped the idea of a military parade to mark the 35th anniversary of Israel’s independence next April 18. The ministerial ceremonials committee decided against one yesterday and the full Cabinet is certain to agree.

The matter generated controversy recently when Haaretz published a report that Premier Menachem Begin wanted a parade as a tribute to the armed forces and to boost public morale. But sources close to Begin are letting it be known that the Premier does not particularly favor the idea. Critics in the opposition Labor Party warned that a display of armed might would make Israel vulnerable to charges of militarism.

Treasury officials cited the huge cost — about a half billion Shekels. But government sources insisted today that the idea of a parade was not dropped because of political pressure. They admitted that a parade had been considered and the army ordered to make a preliminary survey of possible routes through Jerusalem. But this was only because the Labor-led government in 1968 had decided to hold an Independence Day parade every five years and 1983 would be the fifth year in the cycle, they said.

Begin had suggested a parade five years ago but retreated in face of public criticism. He was quoted recently as blaming the Labor opposition for creating “an atmosphere” in which “love and admiration” for the armed forces was not universally felt.

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