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News Brief

May 4, 2006
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Israel celebrated its 58th birthday. Independence Day was launched Tuesday night with an annual rally at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, where select citizens lit 12 candles symbolizing the ancient Tribes of Israel. Officiating was lawmaker Shimon Peres, who urged Israelis: “Don’t cease to dream about peace.” But Peres also emphasized the strength of the Jewish state, which is under threat from arch-foe Iran’s nuclear program. “Our might is unmatched,” he said. Israelis marked the public holiday, which ends Wednesday night, by wearing blue and white clothes in honor of the national colors, attending fireworks displays and feasting at traditional outdoor barbecues. Israel’s population now stands at 7,026,000 — an almost ninefold increase since the country’s founding in 1948.

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