Shazar Inaugurated As Israel’s President in Impressive Ceremony
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Shazar Inaugurated As Israel’s President in Impressive Ceremony

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Shneour Zalman Shazar was inaugurated today as Israel’s third President in a ceremony reminiscent of the biblical pageantry which attended the proclamation of the Jubilee year and coronations of Israelite kings.

Without cannon salvos or other military salute, his arrival at Parliament Square for the ceremony was heralded by army chaplains who sounded successive plaintive, staccato and triumphant notes on the shofar. He then entered the Parliament for a special session for taking the oath of allegiance.

The entire diplomatic corps, the Chief Rabbinate, Supreme Court justices and other dignitaries were present. Israel’s new First Lady, Rachel Katznelson Shazar, and members of the Shazar family watched the ceremony from the Presidential Box in the gallery.

Before a standing House, the President-elect repeated the oath administered by Speaker Kadish Luz: “I, Shneour Zalman, son of Sara and Yehuda Leib Shazar, pledge allegiance to the State of Israel and to its laws and to faithfully fulfill my duty as President.” In one hand, he held the Bible as he raised the other high. A fanfare of trumpets signalled the inauguration and the thousands who had lined Parliament Square broke out in lusty cheers.

Earlier, the President had received official notification of his election by an all party delegation, including Arab deputies. He was cheered as he was escorted to the Knesset building. After the ceremony, the President and the First Lady were driven through the main streets in an open limousine preceded by mounted police and detectives. Thousands of school children Joined in the enthusiastic plaudits which the President warmly acknowledged.


delivering his inauguration address at the Knesset, President Shazar said that the essential first condition to overcoming Israel’s internal and external dangers was “a meeting of hearts among us all.” Paying tribute to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Israels first President, and to Izhak Ben-Zvi, Mr. Shasar’s predecessor, he said the lesson of the period preceding the restoration of Israel was “eternally graven in our hearts” and that “no sacrifice is too heavy for our people to safeguard the peace, freedom and future of the State of Israel.”

“We cannot mitigate the pangs of Israel’s redemption except by raising aloft the banner of love for Israel, by uprooting internecine hatred and erasing fanaticism, by fostering mutual respect and true tolerance,” he declared.

“I hope that peace would not be long delayed–peace with our neighbors and peace throughout the region,” he said. “Our hand is outstretched for peace and the day will come when peace between the nations and the peoples will be established all over the world. We, within the limits of our strength and influence, will be among those who helped to prepare and establish it.”

Stressing that Israel was open to all the Jews of the world, he added “we shall always remember that we still have a people all over the world, a people that is our bore and flesh, a people subject to incitement in one corner and spiritual self-abasement in another, doomed to conformity and assimilation everywhere, either through lack of strength or lack of spirit, whether wittingly or unwittingly but nevertheless devoted to Israel’s heritage and its hope for redemption.”

He said that “Israel was with the Jewish people in its trials and tribulations and we long with all our hearts to see its sons share in our struggles and our constructive endeavors in Israel.” Emphasising that “like the best of states,” Israel guarantees liberty and equality to all its citizens,” he called for the fostering of “every creative spark of talent and knowledge” and the gathering together of the “scattered sparks of Jewish genius.”

He said he prayed that he would be able to summon all the powers of his soul and body to carry out his “exalted mission,” “With the assistance of the entire nation, and divine support, may we be privileged to witness the return of the sons to their borders. May Israel dwell in safety and may the world be built on loving kindness,” he declared.

Speaker Luz hailed the election of Mr. Shazar, declaring that the new President “combines the best attributes of the people.” The Speaker expressed the hope that the new President would be successful in the task of bringing about internal harmony in Israel.

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