Cover Page of Maariv, Yom Ha’atzmaut
The is the front page of the newspaper Maariv from April 23, 1958, the day before the tenth anniversary of the State of Israel. The page describes the preparations for a military parade in Jerusalem and also includes photographs of tanks, soldiers from the infantry and the navy, and women soldiers.
One of the pieces details US pressure on Israel to cancel the parade due, ostensibly, to the sensitive security situation in Jerusalem at the time. Another piece goes on to explain that Foreign Minister Abba Eban was not prepared to give in to American pressure.
The military parade, named the “Parade of the Decade,” took place in Jerusalem on April 24, 1958. It began at the Hebrew University stadium in Givat Ram and continued through the streets of Jerusalem. Tanks were included in the parade in violation of the armistice agreements, and Jordan therefore declared a state of emergency in East Jerusalem and even deployed tanks in the area. Fearing a military flare-up between Israel and Jordan, the United States considered evacuating its citizens from Israel, but finally the parade passed without incident.
The early IDF Independence Day parades were initially greeted with great enthusiasm; during the first parade the soldiers were unable to march due to the over-exuberance of the crowd. The parades were, however, discontinued after the Yom Kippur War.
Another headline on this page states the onset of Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers). In the first two years of the State, memorial ceremonies had taken place on Independence Day itself. However, due to requests from bereaved families, David Ben-Gurion convened a committee which decided to use the precedent set by Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi and to mark this day on the 4th Iyar, the day before Independence Day. This was set in law by the Knesset in 1963. This issue of holding such a solemn day just before the celebratory Independence Day remains controversial to this day.
Another headline at the bottom of the page quotes Churchill as saying: “Following with wonder the brave and dynamic Israel.” The quotation from Churchill’s memoirs expresses his loyalty to Zionism since the days of the Balfour Declaration and states how impressed he was by the creation of Israel from a nation of refugees. Churchill is quoted as seeing the danger facing Israel from its neighbours who cannot or do not want to be “moderate” and demanding that Israel be given the chance to contribute its knowledge, industriousness, and productivity to all of the Middle East. Finally, In reference to Jewish immigration during the years of the British Mandate, Churchill states that while he condemns the terrorism that took place, he cannot fault the resolve and determination demonstrated by the Jewish People.
In lessons leading up to Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Hazikaron Jewish Studies teachers can use this page together with other resources to demonstrate the traditions that have evolved around these dates. The piece about Yom Hazikaron can be used as part of a discussion about the choice of date and the concept of memorial in Israeli society.
Jewish History teachers can use this resource to explore the year 1958 and the topics that concerned people in Israel at the time, including the preparations for the tenth celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut and commemoration of Yom Hazikaron, the tension in Jerusalem between Israel and Jordan, and even a murder in Eilat and a strike in the cinemas. More specifically, this page provides insight into the military marches that were popular in the early years of the State of Israel.
General History teachers can also use this page when discussing Sir Winston Churchill and his ties to Israel and the Jewish People.
Sociology teachers can use this resource to explore the cultural significance of military marches and the role of the military in society.
Media Studies teachers can use this resource when discussing the role of newspapers and comparing newspapers from different times and places.
Which newspaper is this?
When was this newspaper printed?
What is the main feature on the front page?
When and where was the military parade due to take place?
What is featured in the four photographs on the front page?
What does the sub-headline say about the US position on the parade?
What other topics are covered in this newspaper page?
According to the article on this page, what were Winston Churchill’s views about Israel?
Reading Between the Lines
Why was the parade held on Yom Ha’atzmaut?
What was the situation in Jerusalem at the time this newspaper was printed?
Why did the US protest against the parade?
Who else might have protested against this parade?
What reaction do you think the Israeli public had to such military parades in the early years of the State?
When did Yom Hazikaron take place according to this paper?
Was it always on this day?
Do you and your community celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut?
How do you celebrate the day?
Do you mark Yom Hazikaron?
If so, in what way?
In the early days of Israel military parades were very popular, however they no longer take place.
Why do you think this is the case? What do you think of military parades?
For many years now Yom Hazikaron has been held on the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut.
Many people feel that the connection between the two days is important and meaningful; others, however, feel quite the opposite and think the timing is inappropriate.
Explain both views.
What is your personal view?
One of the articles in the newspaper presents Winston Churchill’s views about Israel in 1958.
What was his position regarding Israel, Zionism, and the British Mandate years according to the article?
Look for other sources on Winston Churchill. Do they support the point of view presented here?
Write an official letter to the Israeli government from a group of army veterans requesting that military parades are reinstated.
What arguments have you used and why?
Hold a debate about the date of Yom Hazikaron. Should it be commemorated on the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut? Should it be moved to another date, and if so, when?
Translation of Headlines
Israel rejoices at the threshold of its eleventh year of existence
The army is ready for the march of the decade
All is ready for the evening parade
Three Piper aircrafts will supervise the traffic in Jerusalem
The Americans have placed heavy pressure to cancel the march
The head of the UN Commission will not watch the parade
The UN is investigating a murder in the Gulf of Eilat
Memorial Day for fallen soldiers in the War of Independence has commenced
Churchill: “Following with wonder the brave and dynamic Israel”
The cinema strike may have come to an end