President Shimon Peres congratulated Israel on its 63rd birthday during Tuesday's Independence Day celebration at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, stressing that Israel has come a long way since its establishment.
"We proved we can create a budding garden out of obstinate ground," Peres said during a ceremony with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.
Peres also commented on the current turmoil in the Middle East, saying, "I am sure the entire region will learn that terror has no future, tyranny has no point and that there is a true need for freedom and respect for all men."
Peres congratulated this year's outstanding soldiers from all units of the Israel Defense Forces, and said, "millions of eyes are looking at you… seeing your parents' pride, your country's joy, and your nation's hope."
During the festive ceremony, the prime minister, president, defense minister, and IDF chief each chose their favorite Israeli song to sing before the crowd. Government officials, as well as IDF soldiers and their parents were in attendance.
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