Rare Footage From Old Israeli Military Parade

Jerusalem Online

May 31, 2013

It was the first and last time the Israel Defense Forces ever held their annual march in the southern Israeli town of Be'er Sheva. And this is the only video taken of the event.

The year was 1964, three years before the Six Day War.  Every year on Independence Day, the army held its annual march, usually in Jerusalem.

But Prime Minister Levi Eshkol decided that on Israel’s 16th birthday, it would be held in Be'er Sheva the capital of the Negev desert for the benefit of those who lived in peripheral areas. IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin and the Israeli President Zalman Shazar can be seen in this rare footage, which now resides in the IDF archives.

Hundreds of soldiers and dozens of tanks and jet fighters took part in the display. The parade took place before television existed in Israel. Years later, after the euphoria of the Six Day War passed, Chief of Staff Chaim Bar Lev decided to do away with the annual military show of strength on Independence Day, saying that a more civilian display of joy would be more appropriate.

The lighting of the torches on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem has replaced the military parade as the annual tradition.

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