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As country marks 65th anniversary, President Shimon Peres says Israel's wars have been just

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, Israeli President Shimon Peres, second left, and Israeli military’s chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, fourth left, mark Israel's Independence Day celebration at the President's residence in Jerusalem, Israel, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Israel is celebrating 65 years of independence with barbeques, air force flyovers, and a bible quiz. (AP Photo/Llia Yefimovich, Pool)The Associated Press

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center left, Israeli President Shimon Peres, center, and Israeli military’s chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, center right, attend Israel's Independence Day celebration at the President's residence in Jerusalem, Israel, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Israel is celebrating 65 years of independence with barbeques, air force flyovers, and a bible quiz. (AP Photo/Llia Yefimovich, Pool)The Associated Press

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    Israeli President Shimon Peres, sings with a singer during Israel's Independence Day celebration in Jerusalem, Israel, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Israel is celebrating 65 years of independence with barbeques, air force flyovers, and a bible quiz. (AP Photo/Llia Yefimovich, Pool)The Associated Press

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second left, sings in honor of soldiers, during Israel's Independence Day celebration at the President's residence in Jerusalem, Israel, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Israel is celebrating 65 years of independence with barbeques, air force flyovers, and a bible quiz. Israeli President Shimon Peres sits at right. (AP Photo/Llia Yefimovich, Pool)The Associated Press

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    Israeli President Shimon Peres, shakes hands with soldiers during Israel's Independence Day celebration in Jerusalem, Israel, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Israel is celebrating 65 years of independence with barbeques, air force flyovers, and a bible quiz. (AP Photo/Llia Yefimovich, Pool)The Associated Press

Israel is celebrating 65 years of independence with barbeques, air force flyovers, and an international bible quiz.

Top Israeli leaders began Tuesday's festivities by singing peppy standards in a televised event recognizing Israeli soldiers.

In an address, President Shimon Peres said Israel's enemies have tried for decades to destroy the Jewish state, and that Israel's wars against them have been just. He said Israel would defend itself against dangers from Hezbollah and Hamas militants, and called Iran's leadership one of "craziness."

Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said Israel's army will continue to defend Israelis until "the day that peace comes."

The festivities, which began Monday night, come just a day after the country mourned its war dead during its annual Remembrance Day commemorations.