Yom Ha’atzmaut, or Independence Day, in Israel celebrates the day that the provisional government read and signed the Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948.
Just after sundown on Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli flag is raised from half-staff, where it remains during the holiday, to the top of the flag pole. The president of Israel congratulates the citizens for their independence. There is a parade of military forces, all carrying the flags of their respective branches. The evening parade is followed by the lighting of a torch, known as hadiakat masuot, marking the achievements of Israel.
In large cities, crowds gather to watch public programs that are offered by the government for free. Israeli folk dances or traditional songs are performed in the streets. Displays of the technological achievements of the Israeli Defense Forces are common. The day is concluded with the awarding of the Israel Prize, which recognises an individual who has provided unique contributions to the country’s culture, science, arts and humanities.