After last prayers were said for Israel's fallen as part of Memorial Day, the flag on Mount Herzl was raised once again to full mast and the traditional torch lighting ceremony signifying the beginning of the festivities ensued. This year the ceremony was held under the theme of national heritage.
- Independence marked with folk dancing
- Israeli missions worldwide celebrate Independence Day
- US teen wins Bible Contest together with Israeli
With the beginning of Independence Day, Israel's streets were swept with swarms of people who watched fireworks and musical performances, spraying the streets with endless amounts of foam and hitting each other on the head with inflatable hammers.
Celebrations on Tel Aviv's beach (Photo: Reuters)
There were even those abroad who celebrated the State's birth. In Australia, the Americas, Europe and Africa, many waved the Star of David and sang Israeli hits.
Modi Ephraim, Israel's ambassador to Peru, reported that "the events here will come to a conclusion without fireworks but there will be celebrations."
In Boston, however, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, the local Jewish community and the Israeli consulate in Boston have decided to hold the scheduled events marking Israel's independence day, but without the celebratory markers customary in such events, in a show of respect and solidarity with the city's residents.
Netanya fireworks (Photo: Hagai Aharon)
Like every year, the IDF opened its bases nation wide for visitors and offered a wide array of attractions for those arriving.
Child at IDF base (Photo: Hagai Aharon)
In addition, and as usual, the show was stolen by the IAF, with its traditional flyover
across the country.
IAF flyover (Photo: AP)
IAF jets (Photo: AFP)
The festive flyover crossed the country from Beersheba in the south to the Galilee in the north, showcasing various aircrafts, including fighter jets and helicopters, before the eyes of millions of Israelis.
Over the Mediterranean (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
National heritage sites were also frequented by more than 100,000 people, leading officials to shut down a number of these sites because of over crowding.
Fun at Tel Aviv's beach (Photo: Reuters)
Some 50,000 arrived at the State's national reserves and parks for picnics and barbecues.
"We had already begun to organize the mangal (barbecue) and the food, and then rain started," said Sasson Yamin, who was out with his family in an Ashdod park.
"We quickly packed up our things, and when we finished we noticed the rain had weakened, so we decided to unpack, again, and stay. I believe about 50% of those who were here this morning remained after the rain began. We're trying not to get too bummed out because of the rain."
BBQing with the kids (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
Carmit's family, also from Ashdod, also went picnicking in one of the city's parks, the rain didn't seem to bother them at all.
Beach BBQ (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
"We decided to stay despite the rain," she said. "Next to us there was a group of people who came with a speakers and a sound system, so we were enjoying their musical skills.
"The kids love the holiday so we chose a place next to the beach so they could see the flyover."
On the occasion of Israel's 65th anniversary, world leaders also sent greetings and messages of congratulations, among them US President Barack Obama: "On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Israel on the 65th anniversary of Israel's independence on April 16," Obama wrote, adding that "Sixty-five years ago, the United States was the first country to recognize Israel as an independent state, just eleven minutes after the State of Israel was proclaimed. Since then our political, economic, security and cultural ties have only grown stronger."
Israel's 65th Independence Day was traditionally concluded Tuesday with the Israel Prize award ceremony, in which the State's most acclaimed scholars, scientists and intellectuals are awarded for their achievements.
The ceremony was held in Jerusalem, in the presence of President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Supreme Court President Asher Grunis and Education Minister Shai Piron. Among this year's winners was Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman who was receiving the award posthumously.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop