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The Man and the Issues   |   Live Chat   |   Message Board

Israel at 50

The state of Israel established in 1948

(CNN) -- This spring, the state of Israel will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The event commemorates the culmination of a 2,000-year-old dream of a Jewish homeland when Israel declared its independence in what was once Palestine. But, by most accounts, Israelis are in no mood to party.

The Israeli economy has suffered a recent downturn and the peace process with the Palestinians -- a source of hope for many Arabs and Israelis alike -- has stalled. This even as long-standing differences between Arabs and Jews are compounded by emerging rifts in Israeli society between Orthodox and secular Jews, between recent immigrants and native-born Israelis, and between European Jews and those from other parts of the world.

Elaborate plans for a jubilee have been scaled back amid budget cutbacks and infighting among members of the government committee charged with planning the celebrations. (The fourth chairman of the committee resigned earlier this month).

Present plans call for Israel to mark the anniversary, however modestly, with a sports week, dance festival, art exhibits, a march and parades.

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