Aides to President Shimon Peres say he will spend his 85th birthday in southern Israel's Negev desert as part of his crusade to promote growth in the sparsely-populated arid region.
A statement from Peres' office said he would celebrate Thursday with a visit to the Negev town of Dimona, home to Israel's main nuclear reactor but blighted by high blue-collar unemployment.
Among the events scheduled in a program lasting around 10 hours in searing summer heat, the energetic octogenarian will be serenaded by a blind people's choir and a woodwind orchestra and greeted by children from local summer camps and the town rabbi. He will also give radio and TV interviews to local media students and visit leaders of a Beduin tribe in a tent set up in the town center.
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