A record 33-thousand people are taking part in this year's annual three-day march in Israel.?
A record 33-thousand people are taking part in this year's annual three-day march in Israel. It's the eighteenth year the March has been held and it's rapidly acquiring the status of a major world event.
This year people from fifteen foreign countries as well as Israel are taking pat in the march. The countries represented are Argentina, Belgium, Denmark. Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, West Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.
At its inception, the 3-day March was a purely military affair -- a competition between various units. As more civilians joined, it became an annual revival of the ancient springtime pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Since the Middle East War 1967 the route has been changed to take in the Jerusalem and Judean Hill areas -- including many sites of Biblical interest.
(A late report from Jerusalem on Tuesday - 21 March - said the march had been called off because of heavy rain).
SYNOPSIS: A large international contingent for this year's annual three-day march in Israel. It's the eighteenth year the march has been held and it's rapidly acquiring the status of a major world event. Representatives from fifteen countries joined a large crowd of Israelis for the start of the march on Monday. The size of the foreign teams range from one marcher each from Argentina and France to five hundred and thirty eight from switzerland.
The march started near Beth El to the north of Jerusalem. It takes the form of a spring pilgrimage -- crossing the Jerusalem area and the Judean Hills and passing many sites of Biblical interest.
Arab villagers along the route turned out to watch as the thirty three thousand marchers passed on their way. There was an atmosphere of carnival about the procession -- which in its early days was simply a three-day route march developed as a competition between various Israeli military units.
Japan is the only Asian country represented this year.
The huge Swiss contingent of more than five hundred includes nearly four hundred marchers recruited in a supermarket campaign.
The event this year is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism in Israel.
Becoming a regular feature - the appearance of a team from the British airline, BEA.