Modern Israel Turns 64

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- At sundown Wednesday evening, Israel marks 64 years since its rebirth on May 14, 1948.

Against formidable odds, the Jewish people have built a thriving nation, becoming a world class competitor in innovative technology in agriculture, geothermal and solar power, robotics, medicine, science, hi-tech and much more. Israel ranks second to the U.S. in the number of start-up companies, many in the hi-tech sector.

In 64 years, the population went from 806,000 to nearly 8 million, 75.3 percent of whom are Jewish, 20.6 percent Arab, and the remaining 4.1 percent not identifying as either.

In a little over six decades, Israel has fought seven wars, not including the first and second intifadas (armed Palestinian uprisings) and many military operations.

Speaking at Memorial Day ceremonies Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish people would not be destroyed nor would they give up Jerusalem.

"We are here in Jerusalem and will stay in Jerusalem, the holy city of the Jewish nation for generations to come," Netanyahu said.   "We'll continue to strengthen the State of Israel. We will raise our children here," he said.

"Historically the Jewish people have always outlasted its enemies," Netanyahu said.

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