Israel celebrates 63rd Independence Day

May 10, 2011 at 8:05 AM
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JERUSALEM, May 10 (UPI) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres congratulated his country on its 63rd birthday Tuesday, saying Israel proved you can create a "garden out of obstinate ground."

Peres was accompanied by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Defense chief Benny Gantz at an Independence Day celebration in Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"We proved we can create a budding garden out of obstinate ground," Peres told the crowd.

In addition to congratulating Israel's armed forces, he commented on the current turmoil in the Middle East.

"I am sure the entire region will learn that terror has no future and tyranny has no point and that there is a real need for freedom and respect for man," Peres said.

Each of the leaders at the ceremony chose a favorite Israeli song to sing to the crowd, Haaretz reported.

U.S. President Barack Obama sent an Independence Day message to the Israeli people, reminding them the United States was the first country in the world to recognize the state of Israel, the White House said.

"As Israelis celebrate their hard-won independence, it gives me great pleasure to extend the best wishes of the American people to the people of Israel and to honor their remarkable achievements over the past six decades, Obama said.

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