Israel Celebrates Independence Day; Constructive Efforts Stressed
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Israel Celebrates Independence Day; Constructive Efforts Stressed

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Israel started celebrating tonight the ninth anniversary of its independent existence with a proclamation by President Itzhak Ben Zvi reviewing the achievement of the year and expressing the hope that the tenth year of the State of Israel would bring peace to the country.

At the same time, Premier David Ben Gurion emphasized that Israel is entering its tenth year with pride and satisfaction in the year that has passed. He expressed hope that in the year ahead endeavors for the absorption of new immigrants and an effort to bring new life to the desert would be placed in the forefront. “This,” he said, “is a heavy burden which will demand from each of us and from the Jews outside of Israel constant unremitting effort.”

At an Independence Day reception given by President Ben Zvi to the diplomatic corps, the French Ambassador Pierre Gilbert, dean of the corps, delivered greetings in perfect Hebrew. He hailed Israel’s independence and paid personal tribute to the President for his achievements in cementing ties of friendship between Israel and other countries. Among the diplomats present were the representatives of: France, United States, USSR, Argentina, Britain, Switzerland, Brazil, Denmark, Australia, Belgium, Uruguay, Sweden, Mexico, Yugoslavia, Holland, Hungary, Finland, Burma, Austria, Greece, Canada, Italy and Czechoslovakia.


Foreign Minister Golda Meir told an Independence Day rally that Israel today faces danger, not from Nasser, but from “those who continue to supply Nasser with arms.” In view of the continued threat to the nation, Mrs. Meir said, Israel must undertake a heavy burden to insure maximum preparedness. The Foreign Minister stressed that as long as the Arab rulers are unwilling to accept Israel’s hand, extended in peace, the Jewish State’s security problem is not solved.

The traditional Memorial Day, which precedes Independence Day, was observed today all over Israel. Homage was paid to the dead of the War of Liberation and the Sinai campaign. In synagogues and at military cemeteries, the relatives and friends of Israeli war dead prayed and wept for those who had paid the supreme sacrifice to guarantee the safety of the Jewish State. Special services were held at the site of all battles.

In Tel Aviv sirens signalled a two-minute period of silence today. As their wails died away, buses drew to a halt and passengers alighted to stand at attention, all traffic halted and all work ceased. All public buildings flew the national flag at half mast.

In Jerusalem, where government buildings were also half masted, schoolchildren visited the national military cemetery on Mt. Zion to decorate the graves of soldiers. In Haifa, Mayor Abba Hushi dedicated a statue to the city’s war dead.

In his Independence Day message to the people of Israel, President Ben Zvi emphasized that “the outgoing year will remain engraved in our memories, and in the memories of those to come after us, as a year both of growth and of struggle.” The growth, he said, came in the wake of immigration and settlement, while the great struggle was for the security and the very existence of the State.

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