Over 30,000 people took part on Thursday (3 October) in the Jerusalem march, now in its twentieth year.
Over 30,000 people took part on Thursday (3 October) in the Jerusalem march, now in its twentieth year. This long-established marching marathon took place larger than usual this year, and covered only one day -- not the traditional three.
The March, which normally occurs around Israel's Independence Day, this year fell on the Feast of the Tabernacles, in the middle of the Sukkot festival. The week of Sukkot is the annual feast of thanks giving and one of Israel's most holy periods.
As with the Dutch Nijmegen marathon marches, the Jerusalem march is open to all -- soldiers, citizens, Israelis and visitors, young and old. Several military units traditionally take part, and this year was no exception. However, the visitors' contingents were very few and far between with only the United Kingdom and Japan represented.
SYNOPSIS: Thirty-thousand marchers, both military units and civilian contingents, streamed through the hills of Judaea on Thursday heading for that traditional centre of pilgrimages, Jerusalem In the past, the Israelis have modelled this Jerusalem March on the famous international four-day marching marathon in Nijmegen, in Holland. But this year, with the strong security build-up on the eve of the October War anniversary, the Jerusalem march was cut from a three-day event to just a single day.
The march is now in its twentieth year. This year, it falls during celebrations of the Sukkot -- or Tabernacles -- festival. The big security alert, which had begun nearly a month earlier for the Jewish New Year holiday, had been continued for the Sukkot Festival. Israeli leaders said security operations during the religious celebrations were partly a result of a recent upswing of guerilla activity.
Israel Premier Ytzhak Rabin and other ministers watches as the marchers entered Jerusalem. That same day, Mr. Rabin had found himself a centre of controversy for making reported statements that Israel might return some of the occupied West Bank to Jordan in return for a promise of non-belligerency. the opposition had called for an emergency session of parliament to discuss the situation.
Foreign participation among the thirty-thousand marchers was sparse this year. But contingents from Britain and Japan showed the flag at the marathon. These are the Japanese.