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      Israel Celebrates 64th Birthday

      Remembrance Day for the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror has ended, and Independence Day has begun.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 4/25/2012, 10:38 PM

      Independence Day
      Independence Day
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Remembrance Day for the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror has ended, and Independence Day has begun, with fireworks displays going off countrywide.

      The celebration of Israel's 64th birthday began with the traditional ceremony at Har Herzl in Jerusalem. The main speaker at the ceremony was Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin.

      Rivlin's speech began with a mention of the external threats Israel faces but centered on what he said was an internal enemy which threatens Israel's future – an enemy which he identified as "the extremists" and zealotry on all sides of the political and social spectrum.

      "The struggle against those who set mosques on fire is not between leftists and settlers," he said, "it is a struggle against zealots."

      "The struggle against those who spit in the face of an eight-year-old girl is not a struggle between secular people and haredim, but a struggle against marginal extremists. The struggle against those who team up with our worst enemies, who fight against Israel's right to exist, is not a struggle between left and right or between Jews and Arabs, but a struggle against zealotry and zealots. The struggle against those who see women's singing in the IDF as 'an hour of destruction,' a decree over whose trespass death is preferable, is not a struggle between secular Zionism and religious Zionism. This is a struggle against zealotry."

      Rivlin said that he does not fear the residents of Itamar or Migron, "who are faithful to the Land of Israel and love it," nor does he fear those who oppose the settlement enterprise. "I fear the zealots," he repeated. "I fear the extremism. I fear those who do not hesitate to break the rules in the name of the righteousness of their path; those who do not fear the destruction of the Third Temple."