In Israel, Independence Day is a cause for giving thanks:

singing “ Hatikvah”; hanging the flag from apartment banisters and on automobile aerials. For bopping friends over the head with small toy hammers.

Following Yom HaZikaron, Israelis celebrated Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Independence Day, as usual in a spirit of joy over the country’s accomplishments in its first 59 years with a twinge of apprehension over what future years will bring.

A fireworks display, above, is framed by the Dome of the Rock and other landmarks of the Old City of Jerusalem. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, watches a fly-by by the Israeli Air Force during a Jerusalem ceremony with other dignitaries. One young reveler, left, with the Magen David painted on his face, celebrates in downtown Jerusalem.