Israel marks 64th Independence Day (AP) Associated Press) JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 04/26/12 5:47 am ET)
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JERUSALEM – Israel´s leaders marked their country´s 64th year of
independence on Thursday with a ceremony in Jerusalem, singing
classical Hebrew songs and honoring outstanding soldiers.
"Israel does not threaten its region, does not seek to rule another
people, and does not wish ill for any other nation," President Shimon
Peres said. "Israel, despite its strength, prefers bridges of peace
over fences of hostility."
Israelis flocked to beaches and thronged parks for barbecues across
the nation, filling the air with the scent of grilled meat and
charcoal. Military bases were open to visitors for the holiday. Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to award the Israel Prize
in the evening, a prestigious honor in the fields of entertainment
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated Israel.
"For many around the world, Israel remains a beacon of hope and an
inspiring example," she said Wednesday in an official statement.
Government statistics showed that Israel´s population grew by 137,500
since last year to 7,881,000. The Central Bureau of Statistics said
75 percent of the population is Jewish, 21 percent is Arab, with the
remainder belonging to tiny minorities or immigrants who are not
Also, more than 500,000 Israeli citizens live as settlers in the West
Bank and east Jerusalem, areas Palestinians claim for their future
While Independence Day is a joyful celebration in Israel,
Palestinians will mark the creation of the Jewish state in mid-May
with a day of mourning. (© 2012 The Associated Press 04/26/12)
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