At Sundown on Israel's Memorial Day, (May 10) air raid sirens sounded throughout the country to mark the opening of the festivities for the nations' 22nd Independence Day.
At Sundown on Israel's Memorial Day, (May 10) air raid sirens sounded throughout the country to mark the opening of the festivities for the nations' 22nd Independence Day. The principal ceremony was held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, when the Speaker of the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, lit the torch to mark the start of his country's 23rd year of Independence. In Tel Aviv the Israeli Armoured Corps, which has opened a new establishment, or 'Leaguer', in the city, put its military vehicles on show to the public.
In the Jerusalem ceremony, a dozen small flames were lit-one for each of the 12 tribes of Israel-by children from the border towns and kibbutzim.
Then the two main ceremonial colours of the Israel Defence Forces were handed over for the year's keeping from the Youth Command to Southern command; a guard of honour from the troops who face the war of attrition on the Suez Canal.
The military equipment put on show in Tel Aviv included captured Soviet-built tanks, and an Israeli-modified Patton tank, upgraded with a British-made 105 mm gun, and boosted by a diesel engine giving it a 10-hour operational range without refuelling.
Elsewhere, the Israelis paraded the Israeli-made sea-to-air Gabriel Guided Missile, French-built Saar gunboats, Phantom Fighter-bombers, and other powerful modern weapons from the country's armoury.
Independence day was overshadowed (as one Government Minister admitted) by the shooting which continued along the country's borders. Stringent precautions were in force against Arab guerrilla sabotage, and all police leave was cancelled. But for a time at least the festivities allayed the general tension.