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Israel Celebrates Its 58th Independence Day


Israel is celebrating its Independence Day under tight security. The celebrations included an appeal for peace with the Palestinians and a warning to Iran.

Israel opened its 58th Independence Day with a festive ceremony in Jerusalem. Soldiers marched in formation as fireworks lit up the sky.

Young dancers formed the shape of the Star of David, and a passage was read from the Biblical Book of Isaiah, speaking of the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel.

Twelve torches were lit symbolizing the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Despite the festive atmosphere, Israeli security forces are on a high state of alert. Thousands of police and soldiers have deployed around the country, amid warnings that Palestinian militants are planning attacks to mar the holiday.

Acting parliament speaker Shimon Peres appealed to the Palestinians to abandon terror and make peace.

"In negotiations you will not get everything you want. Neither will we," he said. "We will meet in the middle so that our children will not know war."

Peres also issued a warning to Iran, which has threatened to wipe Israel off the map.

He called on Iran to abandon its nuclear program, saying that Israel is stronger than ever and knows how to defend itself."