Israelis celebrated country's 60th anniversary under tight security with concerts, laser shows, military reviews, parades, and traditional fireworks and barbecues, Ynetnews reported.
The commemoration extends into next week when a three-day conference will be held in Jerusalem on challenges confronting the world, The New York Times reported. Among the 700 guests invited are former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, former Czecholovakian President Vaclav Havel, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Germany Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and U.S. President George Bush; industry leaders Sergey Brin of Google, Terry Semel of Yahoo!, Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. and seven Jewish Nobel laureates.
"The brain enriches the pocket, not the other way around," Israeli President Shimon Peres, patron of the conference, told the Times. "We are a small land and a small people, but we can become a daring world laboratory and that is our desire and plan."
Representatives from several Arab nations were invited. During the Israeli conference, the Arab world will be attending seminars and demonstrations for Nakba Day commemorating the Palestinian defeat in the 1948 Palestine war. Organizers of the Jerusalem conference said they still hope a few Arab leaders will attend, the Times said.