The Israel Prize award kicked off on Thursday evening in Jerusalem, wrapping up this year's Independence Day celebrations.
The country marked its Independence Day with almost no coronavirus restrictions due to Israel's high-paced vaccination campaign, after last year's festivities were massively scaled down in the wake of the first wave of the pandemic.
Education Minister Yoav Gallant, who opened the awards, said no other country in the world made such impressive achievements in such a short period of time.
"These achievements did not come out of nowhere. It is the human spirit that underlies Israel's achievements. On this Independence Day, we are entitled and must look proudly at the fruits of our common creation and be proud at least for one day a year," he said.
"Instead of inciting dialogue, let's have respectful dialogue, instead of sharpening tools that divide us, let's empower unity and partnership - an essential need for a proper society and a basic condition for our ability to face external threats."
The awards were clouded by controversy this year after one of the recipients was blocked from receiving the award by Gallant - a decision that was upheld by the High Court of Justice.
Prof. Oded Goldreich came under fire after he called on the EU to halt funding for Ariel University, located in the West Bank.
Goldreich was nominated for the country's highest honor in mathematics and computer science by a panel of judges. But shortly after the nomination was announced, nationalist groups called for his disqualification, claiming he supported a Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel.
Eight recipients were to accept their awards this year, including four women, which marks a new record for Israel Prize. The women this year dominated the categories of literature and poetry, art of cinema, study of Hebrew literature and study of social work.
This year women also made up record breaking 55% Israel Prize committees.
The event is also attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut.
Associated Press contributed to this report