Israeli Culture

Israel is a melting pot of cultures, blending East and West. Israeli culture encompasses the traditions of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and other smaller groups. Israel’s artistic, social, and culinary culture is influenced by Jewish immigrants from Morocco, Yemen, Iraq, South and North America, Ethiopia, Europe, and Russia.

Tel Aviv culture includes Habima, the national theater, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Israel’s dance culture spans the full spectrum from internationally renowned Batsheva Dance Company, and the Israel Ballet, to ethnic dance groups like Eskesta (Ethiopian) and Inbal (Yemenite). The culture of Tel Aviv can also be experienced in markets, at street food stalls, annual festivals, or live performances.

Museums in Israel cover all genres, from the Museum of Islamic Art and the Japanese Tikotin Museum to the Cartoon Museum and the Design Museum. Jerusalem is home to Israel’s largest and most important museum, the Israel Museum, as well as the Bible Lands Museum, Museum on the Seam, and the Tower of David Museum.  Jerusalem culture includes many sites related to Jewish history, such as the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum.

Cultural events in Israel occur on a regular basis, from jazz performances, and festivals such as the LGBT Pride Parade, to live performances in Caesarea’s Roman amphitheater or Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park. Plan to include some of the cultural events in your Israel itinerary.

The Unique Culture of the Black Hebrew Israelites

Israel is made up of a range of ethnic and cultural communities; there are Jews who immigrated from around the world bringing their traditional cultures with them as well as Muslim and Christian communities. One of the most fascinating and unique Israeli communities is the Black Hebrew Israelites.The Black Hebrews are a group which believes they are the descendents of the ancient Israeli Tribe of Judah. It all began when Ben Carter of Chicago had a dream in 1966 where the Angel Gabriel came to him. The angel told him that African Americans were the Biblical lost tribe of Israel and should return to the Holy Land. The group grew, Carter changed his name to Ben Ammi and more and more African Americans joined the group. The group began arriving in Israel via Liberia with their leader Ben Ammi Ben-Israel in 1969.At first the Hebrew Israelites were not welcome in Israel, they are not recognized as Jews by Israel’s Chief Rabbinical authority and so they could not settle in Israel under the Law of Return (which welcomes Jews from around the world to settle in Israel). The Rabbinate said that they could only stay if they converted to Judaism but they refused as they believe they are already Jewish. Their statues was in the balance for many years, but now after three generations of Hebrew Israelites have made Israel their home the government awarded them permanent residency status in 2006.Their religious observance of Jewish law includes keeping Shabbat and they believe in the Old Testament but incorporate elements of African American heritage in their observance. The Black Hebrew Israelites are vegans; they wear only natural fabrics; don’t drink alcohol or smoke; don’t use salt in their cooking; don’t believe in premarital sex; circumcise boys at 8 days old in accordance with Jewish law; practice organic agriculture and maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a holistic approach to medicine. Hebrew Israelite men can be seen wearing Jewish tzitzit, head coverings and African print shirts while the women wear brightly colored African tribal dresses. Many of the men have more than one wife in accordance with ancient Biblical law.In Israel their community of about 2,500 members is based in Dimona in Southern Israel, they have a tight knit community with their own school, place of worship and community facilities. The unique Hebrew Israelite community of Dimona has welcomed many famous guests including Whitney Houston and Steve Wonder.The Israeli community is famous for its gospel choir which tours internationally raising money for the community. They also create an income for their community through their soy food factory in Arad. Other members of the community are involved in producing and selling African cultural clothing made from natural fabrics. The group runs a vegan restaurant called Ta’am Hachaim in Tel-Aviv. A few hundred Hebrew Israelites serve in the Israeli Army and members of their group have represented Israel in international sports and academic events. In 1999 Eddi Butler, a members of the Hebrew Israelite community, represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest. The group lives in their community on the urban kibbutz – Shomrei HaShalom in Dimona. They are very much a part of Israeli society and they welcome visitors and the chance to educate people about their beliefs. To arrange a visit to the Black Hebrew community in Dimona call their public relations office at 972-8-655-5400.
By Petal Mashraki

A Unique Society to Israel, the Kibbutz Community

A kibbutz, a unique collective community, that exists for over 100 years in Israel only, was established during the pioneering era at the turn of the 20th century. Kibbutzim were founded for settling the land through agricultural co-existence, and with its resident members formed part of the diverse ideological base on which the state of Israel, for 40 years before its creation, was built. There were different ideological movements, that formed agricultural cooperatives which embraced different political affiliations.Such a community formed a fully economical, sustainable and socialist based society, “all for one and one for all”, as part of the foundation of the Zionist movement, and its dream of settling the land of Israel, creating and establishing the homeland for the Jewish people. This was made possible by Jewish immigrants from Europe, North Africa, Russia. Many who fled oppressive regimes, survived atrocities, lost entire families and came to build a new life in Israel.Kibbutz community, based on egalitarian and social cooperation, its values and ethos, takes care of its members’ needs for their entire lives, providing vocation, occupations, homes, health services, education, and sustaining a communal lifestyle built on the community and individual needs, mutual and reciprocal. Various ideologies, religious practice, traditions, values, vision and political entities differentiated between numerous kibbutz movements.The kibbutz today has adjusted to the 21st century – lots of communities are privatized, and considerably fewer exist in its original or economic communal form. In the 21st century, the kibbutz community has become privatized in many aspects, some have even completely ceased to exist, meeting member’s specific needs and re-examining the individual’s needs. Until 1970 children grew up fed, clothed, lived and slept in children’s houses seeing their parents for a few hours each afternoon, from immediately after birth. Since then, housing was adjusted in size to accommodate children living with their parents, and families as a nuclear unit, under 1 roof, redefining the family unit and its part in the collective.The needs of the individual and community are addressed by the elected governing body, but all kibbutz members still have the voting right for all issues that affect them personally and collectively. The kibbutz as a community caters to the needs of the aged, until their passing. Many of them have an elderly population of up to 20 % of the entire member population, who are no longer productive working members but have their needs catered for, by virtue of having been part of the kibbutz all their lives.In recent years, kibbutzim have also created small, adjacent outside housing communities to strengthen them with a younger population ensuring their future existence. Young couples can build and buy homes, which are privately owned, and can fully enjoy communal services education, etc and a countryside lifestyle which they would not be able to afford living in major cities in the center of the country.The kibbutz system has proven its ability to move through the ages and remain relevant in Israeli society, however varied and distant it may be from the original nucleus of its formation.
By Jenny Ehrlich

Food and Drink Festivals in Israel

Food is always a highlight of any trip to Israel; the country has delicious locally created dishes and many international imports brought to the Holy Land by immigrants. Wine has been produced in Israel since Biblical times and the rich soil and varied terrains provide nourishing earth for the local vineyards. If you are lucky enough to be in Israel during one of these food and beverage festivals then you will have the opportunity to sample some of the country’s best cuisine.Chefs for Peace Food EventThis festival was established by a group of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish chefs who want to promote peace by bringing people together over a meal. Using food as a common language they hold events throughout the country and sometimes internationally. At these events, you can taste dishes prepared by the chefs and help support their worthy cause. The aim of the Chefs for Peace is to promote understanding and coexistence between the different cultures in the region and hopefully reduce conflict. The chefs see food as the universal means of encountering new cultures. In the past Chefs for Peace events have been held in many countries like Norway, Canada, Italy and most often in Israel. Check out their list of upcoming events on the Chefs for Peace website.So French So Good, FebruaryFor the fourth year running So French, So Good is putting the spotlight on French cuisine with the help of 28 restaurants and 4 bakeries from around the country. This culinary festival is presented by Israeli chefs and bakeries in collaboration with French chefs to create French/Israeli fusion dishes. The festival is run by the French Embassy in Israel and is held at the beginning of February (February 8-10, 2016). For the 2016 festival one of the participants was Chef Laurent Azoulay, a Michelin-star chef from L’Ekrin restaurant in Meribel, ski resort in the French Alps who joined Meir Adoni of the BlueSky restaurant and judge on one of Israel’s cooking reality shows. Other chefs who have joined together for the festival are Chef Michel Sarran (Michelin rated) from Toulouse who worked together with Israeli Chef Moran Yanai who has his restaurant in Hotel Montefiore. By pairing up French chefs with Israeli chefs many amazing new creations are produced. The ideas and culinary customs of the French and Israeli culture come together to create a unique food. In the 2016 festival chefs came from Acre, Tiberias, Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv. While the international side of the equation was filled in by chefs like Ridha Khadher of the Au Paradis du Gourmand in Paris, Guillaume Gomez, head chef of the Presidential Palace Elysee and Stephane Leger of Archange restaurant in Saint Raphael. The festival will be held in restaurants across the country where the specially created menus will be on offer. In addition to the French culinary delights there are also screenings of food-related films at the French Institute in Tel Aviv, cookery classes at the Sheraton Tel Aviv and French alcohol tasting.Shokoland Chocolate Festival, FebruaryTel Aviv’s chocolate festival is held for three days at the historic Old Station complex – HaTachana. The country’s top chocolatiers come together to present a huge range of chocolates At the festival there are also cooking demonstrations, chocolate making demonstrations, chocolate displays, chocolate tastings, chocolate ice-creams, chocolate sculptures, chocolate fondue and even chocolate beer. The countries chocolate boutique stores will treating you to delicious chocolate in all shapes, flavors and colors.Diner en Blanc , Junehe concept behind this culinary event is to bring people together across a table to share a meal. The dinner is held the night before Tel Aviv’s famous Tel Aviv White Nights when the city’s restaurants, clubs and some stores stay open until the early hours of the morning. 2016 will be the 3rd annual Diner en Blanc event and about 500 people will take part. The location of this pop-up event is only announced an hour before the dinner to people who have previously registered online. Participants need to bring their own white table, white chairs and picnic basket full of delicious food. Dinner in White is an elegant and sophisticated event held in up to 60 locations around the world. The whole event is decorated in white with white table cloths, decorations and balloons. The participants are asked to attend wearing only white clothes. While eating their dinner there is live entertainment and dancing. The event is quiet exclusive with “friends bring friends” so you can’t really get an invitation unless you know someone who is already involved. There are also quite a lot of rules about etiquette and decorum at the event.Taste of Tel Aviv Food Festival ,JuneTel Aviv has literally thousands of restaurants from gourmet fine dining establishments to hole-in-the-wall humus places. You won’t be able to sample all that the city’s restaurants have to offer but you can do pretty well if you attend this festival held in the spring. Some of Israel’s most renowned chefs participate as well as many restaurants from the city. Each restaurant sets up a stall in the festival and offers a selection of food from their menu all at a drastically reduced price. The idea is to bring gourmet food to the general public at affordable prices. The festival is the largest food festival in the country and is visited by over a million people each year (making a profit of over a million dollars). Restaurants offer a tasting menu for a set discount price. Dates for the next festival have yet to be announced but it is usually held in Ganei Yehoshua (HaYarkon Park), Tel Aviv.Herzliya Marina Beer Festival ,JulyThe Herzliya Marina is a great place to visit even if you miss the festival; a large up-market mall faces the marina where yachts are docked along the edge of a wide expansive deck and plaza. This is where the festival is held, out in the open on long summer nights. The festival presents a wide variety of beers as well as a beer-brewing competition. While sipping beer and enjoying the sea breeze visitors are entertained by live performances by top Israeli artists.Chef, Eat!JulyUnlike other food festivals this one does not have one location or even one date; it is held in several restaurants across Jerusalem a number of times a year. Participating restaurants offer a two course meal at a discount price. Guests get a starter and main course for under 100ILS plus they can add a few extra shekels for dessert.Jerusalem Wine Festival, August2016 was the 13th year for this annual festival. It is Israel’s largest wine festival and features wine tastings, food stalls, workshops and live musical performances. The Israel Museum hosts this beverage event which feels a lot more cultural because of its surroundings than other alcohol festivals do. The event is held in the grounds of the museum where there are several sculptures and works of art. The festival celebrates Israeli wines and snacks are on offer while live music plays in the background. Approximately 60 Israeli wineries are represented offering over 100 different types of wine. In 2016 20,000 people are expected to attend. At the festival you can buy bottles of the Israeli wines to take home.Jerusalem Beer Festival, AugustThis is perhaps the biggest and most important annual beer event in Israel. Over the course of two days the festival is open from sundown until midnight and sees about 20,000 guests. 2016 will be the 11th year for the annual festival. In the past it has been held in the historic Old Train Station complex and at Gan HaAtzmut. At the event Israeli breweries set up stalls offering a taste of their brew. There are over 150 beers offered each year from large and micro-breweries including international labels. You have the opportunity to sample beer from Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Japan and more. There are even some unusual beers like banana infused beer. In addition to the beer guests will be entertained by live musical performances and the beer is accompanied by a great selection of food. There will also be beer making demonstrations and an arts and craft market. In 2015 tickets cost 40ILS.Around the World in Rishon LeZion, AugustThe world food fair (Yarid Colinari, Ta’am Olami) offers a taste of cuisine from countries around the globe and entrance is free. The festival is held in the 140 dunam Shikma Park along the avenue of palm trees and on the lawns of the park. Ten zones of the world are created featuring large models of the country’s landmarks; the country or region’s traditional foods as well as other cultural elements like national costume, traditional folk dancing and the local music. On the lawns of the park will be a Greek-style tavern selling beers, cocktails and wine from around the world. In the same area here will be a special section for cheeses from around the world and those entering the area where alcohol is sold will have to show ID to prove they are over 18. In the past the countries represented were America, France, Italy, Lebanon, China, Morocco, Greece, Russia and India.The Kosher Taste of the City, AugustIsraeli cuisine faces the unique challenge of contending with kosher law – no mixing of meat and milk; no seafood; no fish without scales and fins; meat must be from specific animals, slaughtered in a specific manner and prepared in a specific way. This is one of the rare festivals where kosher-observant Jews can enjoy the food on offer. The event is held on the Hof Argmon promenade in Natanya where kosher restaurants present their dishes for a small price (usually under 80ILS). Kitchenware is sold at the festival and there are a number of activities including kid’s entertainment and life musical performances. The festival lasts 10 days and about 50 kosher gourmet restaurants participate.Taste of the Galilee Food Festival, September/OctoberThis annual event is held in the Galilee region of northern Israel at Montfort Lake Park and select locations in the region usually during the Sukkot holidays. The festival features music, workshops, shows, children’s activities and foods produced and grown in the Galilee region. Cafes, restaurants and kibbutzim will be participating and presenting themed menus. The festival highlights the culinary world of northern Israel, the rich farm produce and cottage industry food products as well as the Galilee’s famous wines. Entrance is free to Montfort Lake Park where you can relax on the lawns between meals, rent pedal boats on the lake and enjoy the live performances in the evening. The festival opens in the park at noon and continues until sundown when the shows begin.Taybeh Oktoberfest, OctoberTaybeh is a small Christian village in Palestine’s West Bank surrounded by the majority Muslim communities. Although the Muslim majority prohibits alcohol for religious reasons the Christians of Taybeh have managed to keep one of the oldest trades in the Holy Land alive. Here the municipality has collaborated with the local brewery since 2005 in holding the West Banks only beer festival. The festival has gone from strength to strength and draws in approximately 16,000 visitors each year for the two day festival. The event boosts the local economy and has put the small village of Taybeh on the international map. The Taybeh Brewing Company’s beer is drunk in countries around the world and they have recently added wine to their product list. The wine is called “Nadim” and is produced in the company’s new winery which is beneath a boutique hotel built specifically to accommodate visitors to the brewery, winery and festival.Visiting the festival supports local businesses and helps to bring stability to this area of the country where life always seems to be in flux. The festival is usually held on the first Saturday and Sunday of October but exact dates for 2016 have not yet been announced. At the festival local music groups perform as well as international guest artists. Performances are in several venues and there are also local arts and crafts on sale as well as village tours, a small museum, a Taybeh beer tour and exhibitions held at the Society for the Preservation of Christian Heritage Historical Center of Taybeh. At past festivals there have been street hockey games, Henna body painting, prayer services in the three local churches, folklore dancing performances, stand-up comedy performances, a children’s program, karate demonstrations and a lottery. You can also buy local products like olive oil and honey. The festival helps to promote a different side of Palestine to that perceived on the international news.A-Sham - Arab Food Festival of Haifa, December2016 was the first year for Israel’s Arab Food Festival. The festival looks to become an annual event and features 25 chefs, Jewish, Christian and Muslim from across the country. Arabic delicacies are created by chefs of all faiths in Israel, there are no borders or political conflict when it comes to Israel’s culinary community. Haifa is the perfect city to host this festival as citizens of all faiths share the city and mostly live in harmony side-by-side. The Holiday of Holidays is an annual event when Hanukah, Christmas and Eid al-Fitr are celebrated together by events held throughout the city. The Arab Food Festival is now a part of the annual Holiday of Holidays events. The festival was the idea of Arab Israeli chef Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, the winner of Israel’s 2014 reality show Master Chef (and also a microbiologist). The festival highlights traditional Arabic cuisine which is fast disappearing from the local culinary landscape. The Levantine kitchen is presented in a number of variations to show the cultural context of these dishes and the traditional lifestyles. Many of the traditional Arabic dishes are very labor intensive and many are associated with specific events like religious festivals, weddings and celebrating a new born. Among the traditional Arabic foods on offer there is hilbe, commonly eaten by Yemeni Jews and made out of fenugreek seeds; habisa, a black and white dessert sweetened with carob juice and haroumanieh, eggplant and green lentils prepared in pomegranate juice. Those wanting to enjoy the amazing Arabic foods on offer only need to pay 35ILS (2015 price); you then receive a map of 25 restaurants offering the festival dishes and you can set off to taste them at the various eateries. There are a number of additional festival events including a workshop given by Christian Orthodox Arab women of how to prepare traditional Christmas cookies; tastings of Galilee olive oil, honey, almonds and carob syrup and panel discussions.
By Petal Mashraki

5 Must See Sights in Israel You Probably Didn’t Know about

Any tourist to Israel knows the obvious “must-see” sights like Jerusalem and the Dead Sea but if you’re looking for something special, visit these unique sights:1. Pundak (Kushi) 101101On the Arava Highway 101km from Eilat this roadside diner has grown into a local legend. The site now offers restaurants, exhibits of snakes, turtles, monkeys, crocodiles, and iguanas as well as the chance to get your photo taken on a camel or donkey. Peacocks roam freely and there is a kid’s playground and activities. The site is covered by bamboo roofing and wooden structures and is open 24 hours a day.2. Nachal AlexanderAlexander Stream meets the MediterraneanThis river runs for 45km and meets the Mediterranean Sea near Kfar Vitkin at Machmorit Beach. You can follow the river from the beach inland towards the Turtle Bridge and Turtle Park. The park gets its name from the softshell turtles which inhabit the waters here. They eagerly come to the banks of the river to greet visitors together with schools of catfish. The park has sitting and picnic areas as well as a playground.3. Machane Yehuda Witch DoctorMachane Yehuda marketIn Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market you can find Uzi-Eli Chezi, nicknamed the “witch doctor” he prepares and sells juices specifically designed to treat mental, spiritual, and physical ailments. In his small stall he concocts drinks according to your special request: do you need something to calm you, make you happy, help you find a husband, or treat your skin condition. In his colorful way, he will select the right fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables to combine into your juice. His concoctions are inspired by ancient Jewish writings and his most famous mix is one of etrog and gat (khat) juice. So if you are suffering from a broken heart, dandruff or impotence visit the witch doctor for a mix of date, ginger, pomegranate, yogurt, gat, or passion fruit!4. Bat Caves (Ma’arat Hateumim)Near Bet Shemesh, there are large Karst-formed caves inhabited by hundreds of bats. As you enter you may not even notice them until your look up. The bats seem totally used to the humans who stare up at them. Take along a flashlight to help you navigate the cave entrance.5. Tefen Open MuseumThe drive to this remote location will give you stunning views of the mountains. You may feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere but suddenly you’ll come across the Tefen Industrial Zone which is in fact a museum complex. The industrial area is spotted with interesting sculptures and installations on the lawns. There are also a number of indoor museums including an Antique Car Collection, a glass studio, the Art of Industry Museum, the Museum of German-Speaking Jewry, and a Ceramics Museum. The complex is between Carmiel and Ma’a lot on Route 854.
By Petal Mashraki

Must-Visit Museums in Jerusalem

For a country as small as Israel, it sure does pack a punch when it comes to museums and nowhere more so than in Jerusalem. So after you’ve explored the Old City, enjoyed the buzz of the Mahana Yehuda Shuk and are looking for some culture, where should you begin?Well, frankly, you’re spoilt for choice but if you’re short on time, here are some of the must-visit museums in the capital that we can’t but help recommend. And if you don’t see them all? Well, you’ll just have to return to Israel…!The Israel MuseumIf you’ve only got 2-3 hours to spare, then it really has to be spent here. Ranked as one of the world’s leading museums, it is packed full of treasures relating to Jewish art, archaeology, dresses, coins, jewelry and everyday artifacts (to name but a few). It also boasts two particularly extraordinary (and muse-see) exhibits, The first is a stunning white dome, reflected in a pool of water that surrounds it, and the home of the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered in 1947 by a shepherd boy, in the caves of Qumran). Considered a landmark of modern architecture, it is designed to express spirituality and signifies a ‘sanctuary’ of sorts.The second is the Model of Second Temple Jerusalem. Designed by the scholar Professor Avi-Yonah, and measuring around 1,000 square meters, this is an outstanding reconstruction of Jerusalem. It reveals the uniquely Jewish character of the city, particularly the Temple Mount. Note the Herodian architecture and visualise how the city looked, back in the time of Jesus!You can easily spend an entire day at the Israel Museum, but as a minimum allow 2 to 3 hours. There are also free guided tours, a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden and numerous temporary exhibits.Yad VashemMaking a visit to the world holocaust remembrance center is an unforgettable part of any visit to Jerusalem. Using state-of-the-art resources, Yad Vashem (which, in Hebrew, means ‘a monument and a name’) tells the story of the holocaust from a uniquely Jewish perspective, making the stories of those who survived (and the millions who also perished) come alive through testimonies, possessions and artifacts.Designed by the architect Moshie Safdie, the building represents a prism-like structure, bringing in daylight from above through a 200 meter-long glass skylight. 180 meters long, in the form of a spike, it is supposed to portray the complexity of the Jewish peoples’ situation. The entire museum complex is built out of reinforced concrete, with different heights and angles of light. Within the museum, there are exhibits, galleries and some particularly poignant areas including the Children’s Memorial, the Hall of Names and the Hall of Remembrance. It is hard not to shed a tear whilst watching survivor testimonies on video, or viewing the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis. Yad Vashem is an essential viewing - to commemorate the past and safeguard the memory of those who perished in such a dark period of Jewish history.Tower of David MuseumAlso known as the Jerusalem Citadel, this museum is located close to the Jaffa Gate (in the Old City) and tells the story of Jerusalem from a historical perspective, but using a range of illustrative techniques (films, lights, and 3D models). Chronicling the city’s history (beginning in the second millenium BCE), you soon realise how Jerusalem came to be so important to the world’s three largest monotheistic faiths. If you can, book a ticket for the unique ‘Night Spectacular’. Sophisticated technology project brightly-colored screened images onto the stone walls of the Old City, all whilst accompanied to original music, bringing the story of Jerusalem to virtual life.From the top of the tower, enjoy panoramic views of the city, including the Judean Desert, Mount of Olives and the Dead Sea.Bible Lands MuseumThis archaeological museum, with its priceless collection of antiques, takes you on a journey through the Ancient Near East, giving you a unique insight into the people and tribes who inhabited the lands of the Bible. Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman cultures...western society has been enriched by their endless accomplishments in fields as far-reaching as technology, writing and commerce. Verses from the Bible are displayed next to artifacts and the explanations of our current customs (and how they are derived from ancient societies) are comprehensive. With its changing exhibitions, lectures and gallery talks, it really is a gem of a collection. Tip: don’t miss the Classical Courtyard or the Roman Frescos Room (the paintings are believed to have come from a suburb of Pompei).NB: the tour in English begins every day at 10:30 am.Islamic Museum of ArtFounded in the 1960’s by Vera Bruce Salomons, a woman ahead of her time, this museum houses one of the most important collections of Islamic art worldwide.Made up of six galleries, this outstanding collection consists of rugs, ornaments, jewelry, pottery and ancient pages of the Qu’ran - all reflecting the grandeur and beauty of Islamic life across the ages. Don’t miss the basement level, where you will find one of the most important watch collections in the world (belonging to Vera’s father, David). Particularly beautiful is the clock of Queen Marie Antoinette - made up of 823 parts, all in gold!The museum also hosts cultural events and promotes dialogue between Jews and Arabs, acting as a bridge between the two cultures.Ideal to visit if you want a break from the tourist circuit.Bloomfield Science MuseumMuch like Madatech in Haifa, this museum is great for kids, with education and interactive exhibits that bring science to life! Their demonstrations, hands-on workshops and intriguing performances change constantly - and any child is bound to love ‘Lunar Landing’ (commemorating 50 years since the Moon Landing) or the games in the ‘machine’ room...This is an ideal place to bring the kids, not just to teach them about science but to bypass a rainy morning or sweltering afternoon in Jerusalem.
By Sarah Mann

Tour attractions: Top 10 Israeli Museums

1. Israel Museum, Jerusalem This is the country’s national museum and is also the largest museum in the country. Here you’ll find exhibition halls focusing on a wide range of subjects, genres and medium. Some of the museum highlights include the children’s wing, fine arts and archeology. Other attractions within the museum grounds are the Art Garden and a model of the Old City of Jerusalem in 66CE during the Second Temple Period. Another highlight is an ancient female figurine which is thought to be the world’s oldest art work. On the museum grounds is the uniquely shaped Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls can be seen.2. L.A. Mayer Memorial Institute for Islamic Art, JerusalemIslamic ArtHere you can see examples of Islamic pottery, painted ceramic tiles, glassware, weaponry, jewelry, religious artifacts and traditional cultural objects. The museum is named after a former scholar of Islamic art at the Hebrew University. The artifacts come from across the globe and represent several historic periods from the 7th to the 19th century. Each exhibition hall is according to the historic Muslim dynasty and the geological location they include the Umayyad Caliphs and the Ottoman period. One of the most important collections in the museum is of rare antique clocks and watches. The museum holds exhibits of art by contemporary Arab artists.3. Madatech, HaifaChildren and adults alike will enjoy this interactive museum where you can touch and play with the exhibits and try your hand at various experiments to prove scientific laws. There is a section for toddlers where they can play and learn. The exhibits cover green energy, flight, chemistry, the mysteries of light, scientific engineering, visual deceptions and puzzles and games. There is a 4D cinema where the wonder of science is revealed further through films about the solar system and other subjects.4.Tel-Aviv Museum of Art Tel-AvivMuseum of Art Tel-AvivTel-Aviv Museum of ArtThis museum covers a wide range of genres and historic periods but the emphasis is on modern art especially Israeli and European contemporary art. There is an impressive collection of impressionist and post impressionist art. There are collections of Old Masters, photography, prints and drawings and architecture and design. Among the highlights are works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Gutman, Marc Chagall, Pissarro, Kandinsky and Pollock. The museum is also known as a venue for performances, events and temporary exhibitions.5. Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum, JerusalemThis award winning museum uses multimedia, historic video footage, authentic artifacts, documents and art to tell the story of the Holocaust. The museum takes the form of an elongated triangular shaped building which takes visitors chronologically through the events of World War Two. At the end of the museum the building opens up to a view over the hills of Jerusalem. Other sites on the museum grounds include the path of the righteous commemorating righteous gentiles and a special memorial to the children who died in the Holocaust. One of the most moving exhibits of the museum is the Hall of Names, a memorial to all the Jews who died in the Holocaust, it is a circular hall with a cone shaped ten meter high center displaying 600 photos and pages of testimony.6. Design Museum HolonThis relatively new museum which opened in 2010 has quickly become one of the country’s leading museums. This is a forward looking museum focused on modern culture and contemporary design. There are temporary exhibitions as well as permanent collections which display design objects from around the world. There is an Experience Archive which is an interactive exhibit used for research. On display are furnishings, wall art, textiles and object d’art. The unique architecture of the museum building, designed by Ron Arad, is an attraction in itself.Design Museum Holon7. Children’s Museum HolonA must-see attraction if you are traveling with children. A visit to the museum must be booked in advance and there are exhibits for different age groups and each follows a specific theme. The most famous of the exhibits here is the Dialogue in the Dark where blind guides take groups of visitors through a completely dark exhibit. The visitors experience the museum as a visually impaired person would, thus heightening their use of the other senses. The Invitation to Silence is an experience where a deaf guide takes visitors through a series of exhibits while they wear headphones blocking out all sound. Once again the exhibit opens visitors up to a new sensory experience.8. Eretz Israel Museum (Land of Israel Museum), Tel-AvivThis museum is home to several separate museums as well as a planetarium. The multi-disciplinary museum exhibits all relate in some way to the Land of Israel and its culture and history. Folklore, Judaica, ethnography, the Israeli postal service and traditional crafts are on display. Take into account that the various sections of the museum are spread over a large area and to move from one to the other you need to leave the air-conditioned halls and walk under the hot sun. There are also outdoor exhibits like the Crafts Arcade where a number of antique working tools are set up in recreated workshops such as a cobbler, tanner and cooper.9. Tower of David Museum, JerusalemHoused within the Tower of David’s medieval guardrooms, an iconic symbol of Jerusalem’s Old City, this museum presents the city’s history in chronological order highlighting the most significant events. There is a film outlining Jerusalem’s history and exhibition rooms covering the Canaanite Period, 1st and 2nd Temple Periods and the Roman Period. Apart from the exhibits on display visitors can also see a nightly Sound and Light Show where images telling the story of Israel’s history are projected on the ancient stones of the Old City.10. Tiktin Museum, HaifaTiktin MuseumThis museum is home to the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Apart from being a fascinating museum it brings to the country a totally foreign culture and offers a break from most of the Israeli museums which focus so closely on the nation’s heritage. The Japanese culture, art and traditions are presented and this is the only museum of its kind in the Middle East. There are over 7,000 works of art on display including ceramics, textiles and paintings as well as metal work and miniature carvings. Both traditional and modern Japanese art is on display.
By Petal Mashraki

International Festival of Puppet Theatre Jerusalem

For four days in August the Train Theatre presents puppet shows and performances from Israel and around the world. The performances range from modern to traditional puppet theatre and from internationally acclaimed puppet troupes to relatively unknown performers. The aim of the festival is to introduce the public to the many facets of puppetry and show the artistic complexity, communicative power and sophisticated aspects of puppetry for all ages and tastes. Performances take place both at indoor venues across Jerusalem and in the theatre courtyard so that many of the events are free. The festival promotes multi-cultural interaction and a chance to learn about the world of puppetry and have some fun at the same time. The event is geared towards adults and children alike, in fact there are even puppet shows for adults only. The festival is a major platform for up-and-coming puppet artists and the performances are unique, professional and of exceptional quality.In addition to the puppet performances there are puptrpetry workshops and a chance to meet the artists. Performances take place throughout the day from 10am to 11pm and are listed according to the ideal age of the audience. There are shows suited for 2-4 year olds, 4-9 year olds, 3-9 year olds, 3-8 year olds, 3-7 year olds, 5-12 year olds, over 8s, all ages and for adults only. Among the international performers at the festival this year there are artists from Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain and China represented by master puppeteer Yeung Fai.Special Festival Eventsfish puppetZoooo-There is no Animal like It – This event has been specially created for the festival; it will take place in the Jerusalem Liberty Bell Park. At this multidisciplinary event visitors can meet all kinds of “animals” created by master puppeteers. See puppet monkeys, giraffes, tigers and go on a safari. There will be live musical performances and activities for the whole family a the park becomes a zoo of puppets.a puppet showStory time – There will be story time for kids using puppets to act out the stories.Coffee with Puppets – Visitors are invited to enjoy a cup of coffee with the puppets while joining in the puppet technique workshop. There will also be puppet making and mask making workshops.Sing-along – There will be a public sing-along of well known songs using puppets.Animal Band – See a musical performance where the performers are puppet animals.Every evening at 10pm there will be musical performances, cabarets and parties for adults only in the courtyard Khan.Practical Details:Where: Train Theatre, Khan Theatre, Gerard Behar Center, The First Station and Beit Shmuel, JerusalemWhen: 15-18 August 2016Admission: 10ILS-100ILS depending on the performance.Contact: For more information call 02 5618514 or see the Train Theatre website.
By Petal Mashraki

Israel Summer Festivals 2013

During Israel’s summer season which lasts from June to the end of August there are a number of festivals and special events which are worth attending. Here are a few of the highlights of Israeli summer events and festivals.June 27 White Night International FestivalTel aviv white night 2013Spend the night in Tel-Aviv when the restaurants stay open all night and there are late night performances both in cinemas and on the streets. Craft markets and musical performances pop up on the streets of Tel-Aviv throughout the night and the main event is the International Marathon of Jazz and Avant-garde Music which is held in the Einav Culture Center.June 5-13 Jerusalem Light festivalThe streets and walls of the Old City are brought to life by displays of light sculptures, light designs, light statues, instillations, projected images and live performances. Entrance is free and visitors can wander the streets admiring the light displays,July 23-25 Karmiel Dance FestivalA huge gathering of over 10,000 dancers perform in 80 events in the town of Karmiel. Together with the performances there are audience participation dances, workshops, public folk dances where anyone can join in and other events like a market, food stalls etc. Over 25,000 visitors are expected to attend the annual festival in 2013.August 5-8 Israeli Wine Tasting festivalHeld at the Jerusalem museum the entrance fee gets you a wine glass for unlimited tasting, cheese tasting and entry to the museum galleries. The event takes place in the museum gardens and is accompanied by live jazz performances. The price is approximately 80NIS.August 15-28 International Arts and Crafts FestivalArtists and craft makers from around the world gather here to display and sell their creations. The event takes place just outside the Jerusalem Old City walls in the Jerusalem Arts and Crafts Art Amphitheater while concerts play in the nearby Sultan’s Pool. The festival takes place in the evening from 6pm to 11pm and is closed on Friday.August 6-8 International Klezmer Festivalklezmer festivalThis uniquely Jewish form of music is celebrated for the 23rd year in several venues throughout the country, the best known being in Safed where 45 performers showcase “Jewish soul music”. In Safed 8 stages are set up throughout the city and other events are held like craft fairs, tours and kid’s shows. Klezmer music is from the Hassidic tradition of Eastern Europe and groups of musicians play classical instruments to a unique rhythm. Entrance to all performances is free.August 22-23 Jerusalem Beer FestivalJerusalem is not just a holy city it is also a great city for the young who want a good party, for example the annual beer festival offers a chance to sample beers from around the world and enjoy the street party atmosphere. Both craft beers and mainstream beers are served from stands set up in the Old Train Station compound. There are food stands, live performances and stalls selling souvenirs and crafts. The beerfest takes place from 6pm until midnight and entry costs 30NIS which doesn’t include beer.August 22-25 Red Sea Jazz FestivalIf you happen to be in Eilat during this period you can attend this annual festival now in its 26th year. Each night there are about 8 concerts and during the day master classes, workshops and jam sessions. Artists are national and international and perform a range of jazz styles from Blues to Latin jazz in three Eilat venues. The exact dates for the 2013 festival have not yet been published.
By Petal Mashraki

The Red Sea Jazz Festival

The Red Sea Jazz Festival is an annual event held in the gorgeous beach resort city of Eilat, Israel on the edge of the Red Sea. Since its initiation the festival has grown in size and importance. The Red Sea Jazz Festival plays an important role in fostering Israeli jazz talent and has also earned itself a reputation in the international jazz scene. The event takes place over four days in August at the music-inspired Prima Music Hotel and other Eilat venues.jazz festival The Red Sea Jazz Festival hosts a special tribute to Israeli jazz with lots of performances spanning the full spectrum of the Israeli jazz scene, showcasing the multicultural tapestry of Israeli jazz. The festival includes Israel’s greatest jazz performers who have established careers both in Israel and internationally. At the festival, there are both veteran pioneer artists responsible for establishing the jazz culture in Israel and new up-and-coming Israeli artists. The festival follows a special format to salute the legendary Israeli jazz artists with original productions showing the development of jazz through the generations. In addition, usually, there are several big-name international acts including such artists as The Chick Corea Trio, Avi Lebovich and The Orchestra; Aharale Kaminsky; Albert Piamenta; Guy King; TATRAN; Quartet to Afrika; Shlomi Shaban; Shalom Hanoch and Maya Belsitzman among others.Few festivals manage to continue for 30 years and this is a testament to the strong legacy and unique character of the event. In addition to the live performances, the festival offers other special events like the Red Sea Jazz Festival Young Jazz Program. Young musicians will be able to join a workshop run by some of the festival performing artists. The festival hosts the Israeli Jazz Convention, discussion panels, lectures, master classes, workshops for the public, and in the mornings special jazz performances geared towards children aged 5-10 years. One of the traditions of the Red Sea Jazz Festival is the Jam Session held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel poolside. The jam session starts at 11 pm and the jamming continues into the night. Throughout the festival, there are usually sunset jazz cocktail events on Mosh’s Beach near the Eilat Port. Entrance is regularly free and the cocktails will be accompanied by a selection of young bands.Queen of Sheba hotel EilatEilat is the ultimate beach resort; during the festival, visitors will be able to enjoy the incredible Red Sea where there are natural coral reefs, schools of tropical fish, and even dolphins. There are water sports for the whole family, cruise excursions, dreamy beaches, and amazing malls. Eilat is a duty-free port city so you can shop-til-you-drop. Be sure to visit the Ice Mall which has an ice rink in the center. Visitors can also take excursions into the surrounding desert to places like Park Timna, the Dead Sea, and Masada. From Eilat, there are convenient day trips to Petra, Jordan, one of the seven wonders of the world. Eilat has wonderful restaurants, many specializing in seafood and you will find that Eilat hotels rival the best beach resort hotels worldwide. Visitors can enjoy the Red Sea Jazz Festival and a fantastic holiday.Practical Information:When: usually in August. Performances and events take place throughout the day from 10 are to 1 am.Where: At select Eilat venues including the Crowne Plaza Hotel; Jazz Cinema; Port arena; Red Note and the Sea Club.
By Petal Mashraki

A Coin Exhibition at the Davidson Center

Coins have always been, first and foremost, a means of payment, but they have also been used to communicate messages. We also look at coins for the evidence they provide for commercial, religious and cultural relations. The coins that found their way to Jerusalem, are testimonies to the importance of the capital as a cosmopolitan center and focus of pilgrimage. In times of peace, Jerusalem attracted visitors, traders and pilgrims of all religions. In times of war, the political and strategic importance of Jerusalem brought invading and conquering armies into the city. All these visitors also left their mark in the coin finds in Jerusalem, especially from the excavations close to the Temple Mount.This exhibition focuses on the international character of Jerusalem, and of the Temple Mount in particular, by showing a selection of hoards and isolated coins discovered during the excavations of Prof. Benjamin Mazar between 1968 and 1977. The wide geographic provenance of these coins extends from the Sasanian empire in Persia, Chartres in France and Carthage in North Africa. The coins provide exceptional insight into the relationships between different peoples, the coins they used and the value they placed in those coins.All the Roads Lead to JerusalemDuring excavations in Jerusalem, and close to the Temple Mount in particular, a large number of coins coming from distant places in the Mediterranean was found. The ten coins exhibited here represent a wide range of mints, periods and materials. Some of the coins are most unusual in our region, such as the silver drachm from Ephesos in Ionia, southwest Turkey; the gold aureus of emperor Tacitus struck in Rome and the bronze follis of the Byzantine emperor Constantine IV minted in Syracuse, Sicily. Other coins, such as Carthage or Ravenna – whose provenance might seem curious – were actually integral part of the coins in circulation during the fifth and sixth centuries CE. Some of the cities mentioned here, such as Constantinople (today Istanbul), Antioch in Syria and Alexandria in Egypt constitute the most common mints from which coins circulated in our region in the Hellenistic through the Byzantine periods. Some of these “foreign” coins also figure in the Jewish tradition. For instance, the silver sheqels and half-sheqels minted in Tyre (in Lebanon), were singled out as the ideal means of payment of the half-sheqel head tax to the Jerusalem Temple.The Sasanian Coin HoardEleven Sasanian silver drachms from the hoard are exhibited here. The hoard was discovered within a drainage channel which was part of the central sewage drain of a large public latrine, built in the Roman period and still in use during the Byzantine period. It seems that the owner lost this handful of coins around 535 CE, at the time he was in the public latrine. The coins in the hoard date from the period between governor Peroz (463-484 CE) to the days of king Khusro I (531-535 CE). The coins come from several cities in Iran, among them Shiraz, Kerman, Ray, Hamadan (Echbatana) and Merv. These types of coins are characteristic of the Sasanian rulers in Iran. On one side is the bust of the king and an inscription in Pahlevic; on the other side is an altar flanked by two priests. Depicted is a sacrifice scene, deriving from Zoroastrianism. Sasanian coins minted before the Persian conquest of 614 CE are quite rare finds in Israel. The coins are evidence of the peaceful relations between the Byzantine empire and the Sasanian kingdom during that period.The Fatimid Coin HoardThree gold Fatimid hoards were discovered in 1968-1969. The hoard exhibited here includes fifty-one gold coins, dinars and quarter-dinars, dated from 982 to 1095 CE. Most of the coins were minted during the last fifteen years of reign of caliph Al-Mustansir (1036-1094 CE). This ruler is known as the one who brought the Fatimid dynasty to its zenith. The high gold content of the coins gives evidence to the dynasty’s prosperous economy. The design on most of the coins is a central “bull’s eye” with three concentric circles of legends around it. The majority of the coins were struck in Egypt and North Africa, in Misr (Cairo, Fustat), Alexandria, al-Mansuriyya and Mahadiyya; a number of coins were struck in Syria-Tripolis, Akko and Tyre. One dinar is not Fatimid but Almoravid, from the city of Sijilmasa in Algeria.The latest coins in the hoardare dated to year 1095 CE, when Jerusalem was under Seljuk rule. Therefore, it seems likely that the coins were brought to the city when the Fatimids reconquered Jerusalem in 1098 CE. A short time later, in 1099 CE, the city was conquered by the Crusaders. Presumably, coins were hidden in this occasion. The uniformity of the hoard, and the historical circumstances, suggest that this is an emergency hoard, abruptly concealed upon the Crusader’s arrival and never recovered by its owner.A Hoard of Feudal French Coins and a Papal BullaA hoard of French coins and a lead papal bulla dated to the Crusader period were uncovered during the excavations in 1968 and 1971. Both exceptional finds are dated to the twelfth century CE and were found in a sector that was under the control of the Order of the Templars. The hoard was discovered in a drain channel; the bulla within a room surrounded by walls of the Crusader period. The hoard yields seventy-five debased silver thin deniers, seventy-four struck in the city of Chartres, and one minted in Blois. The coins are anonymous, most probably dated to the time of count Thibaut V (1152-1191). All the Chartrain coins belong to the same type, depicting a stylized head of a king on the obverse, and on the reverse a Maltese cross surrounded by the inscription: +CARTIS CIVITAS.Similar hoards were discovered in France and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, along the routes used by the Crusaders. Due to the chronic lack of local coinage in the Latin Kingdom’s treasure, European currencies flood the East and circulated alongside with the local coins. The uniformity of the hoard suggests that the coins arrived in Jerusalem from Europe already as a single group, most probably belonging to a pilgrim or knight who deposited them for safekeeping with the Templars. The lead bulla, naming Pope Alexander III (1159-1181 CE) was impressed in Rome. Lead bullas were used as official seals on important documents, and were frequently utilized by officials of the Latin Kingdom. While several bullas have been discovered in our region, papal bullas are extremely rare. This is the first bulla of its type ever discovered in an archaeological excavation. The name of the pope is inscribed on one side; the portraits of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, fathers of the Christian church, appear on the other side, together with abbreviations of their names: S(ANCTVS) PA(VLVS) S(ANCTVS) PE(TRVS). The appearance of this bulla in Jerusalem is evidence to the close relations existing between Rome and the Holy City during the tenure of Alexander III. His papacy is characterized by a large number of edicts issued to the Latin Kingdom in general and the Order of the Templars in particular. It seems most likely that the hoard and the bulla were among the possessions which the Templars abandoned when the city of Jerusalem capitulated to Saladin in 1187.Acknowledgments:Curators: Gabriela Bijovsky, Dr. Hava Katz, Israel Antiquities AuthorityDesign and Production: Studio Avidani, JerusalemProject manager: Gad KlierStudio photography: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities AuthoritField photography: Israel Antiquities Authority; Dr. Eilat MazarCoin illustrations: Pnina AradArabic translation: Fawzi IbrahimEditing: Dr. Zvi Gal, Dr. Donald T. Ariel, Israel Antiquities AuthorityCoin Loans: Israel Antiquities Authority
By Petal Mashraki

The Best Ways to Spend Christmas 2019 in Israel

Christmas 2019 is just around the corner, and in Israel, the land where the events of Christmas actually took place there is excitement in the air as decorations go up, trees are erected in city centers and churches prepare for special Christmas services. You won't see Christmas celebrated in all Israeli cities but in places where there are Christian communities you can experience the holiday season in the Holy Land, unlike anywhere else in the world. To help you plan your time in Israel as you celebrate Christmas here are some of the most popular and special 2019 Christmas events in Israel.2019 Christmas Events in JerusalemYMCA Christmas Concert: 24.12.2019, 19:30-21:30The traditional Christmas celebrations at the historic YMCA building in Jerusalem include a Christmas Eve concert featuring more than 80 performers. Among those performing will be the Jerusalem Street Orchestra; YMCA Academy Orchestra; the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir and the Jerusalem Youth Choir, with youths from West and East Jerusalem. You can expect to hear all the classic Christmas songs and enjoy a festive atmosphere at this annual event.Santa’s House: Throughout December 2019, 17:00-20:00Each year Santa’s House opens its doors to excited young visitors. Situated on St. Peter’s Street in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, Santa’s House is a non-profit attraction supported by donations with the sole purpose of delighting young visitors. The house belongs to a family whose generations have inhabited the Old City for over 700 years. Santa’s House is decked-out with traditional Christmas decorations and although it may not be the North Pole, families can enjoy the warm, cheerful atmosphere in Santa’s house.Dormition Church Christmas Concert: 2019: 21/12/2019, 11:00Attend a Christmas concert in the beautiful Dormition Church on Mount Zion. This year’s guest performer will be the French classic organist, Maurice Clerc. The concert will include a variety of arrangements on the organ. Enjoy the music of this world-renowned performer in the surroundings of one of Jerusalem’s most exquisite churches.The Dormition Church2019 Christmas Events in JaffaHappy Market: 20/12/2019, 10:00-16:00This lively market takes place at the Art Club at 9 Shach Street. The market stalls will hold hand-made goods such as ceramics, jewelry, glassware, clothing as well as flowers and a range of Christmas items. No Israeli market would be complete without some delicious food stalls and at the Happy Market, you won’t go hungry! Free admission.Jaffa Christmas Parade 2019: 27/12/2019, 17:30This annual parade includes music; decorated parade floats escorted by Santa figures and other holiday-themed participants. The parade will travel along Yefet Street stopping at a number of points along the way including the churches along the route where kids will be treated with sweets, small gifts and other surprises. Free admission.Scouts Christmas Carnival Parade: Friday 06.01.2020, 17:30 (there may be changes)Come join this annual parade presented by more than 550 scouts, members of Jaffa’s Orthodox Scouts Club. The parade will travel from Evn Rashd Street, down the length of Yefet Street to St. George’s Church on Louis Pasteur Street. This traditional carnival includes costumed participants, performances by the scouts’ orchestra ending with a brilliant firework display. Free admission.A Christmas treeScouts Christmas Carnival Parade2019 Christmas Events in Western GalileeChristmas Run in Mi'ilya: Friday, 20.12.2019, 08:00This will the 5th year that this fun run has been held in the beautiful Galilee to celebrate Christmas and the Festival of Lights, Hanukah. Each year this Christian village is decorated with colorful Christmas lights and Christmas trees for the holiday season. The run marks a coming-together of people of different faiths and cultures. People of all faiths, persuasions and communities are invited to join in for a run through the lanes of this magical Galilee village. You’ll have the choice of a 2km, 5km or a competitive 10km run. The run has been created to suit individuals as well as families with kids. There will be prizes for the winners in categories above 5km. A fee will be charged for Participation in the Christmas run.Western Galilee Winter Festival: Thursday-Saturday, 19.12.2019-21.12.2019 (times may vary)The Western Galilee Now Organization holds an annual Winter Festival with events and happenings spread across several villages. There will be an exciting schedule of Christmas-related events. Kfar Pasuta is considered one of the best festival villages where the celebrations include a wide range of activities; musical performances; Christmas carols; family activities and tours through the quaint lanes. Kfar Eilabun is another popular destination during the festival; here there is a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the village square and an adjacent Christmas market. The Kfar Eilabun celebrations include street performers, a parade and wonderful kid’s shows.Christmas Season in Mi’ilya:Saturday – Monday, 21.12.2019-23.12.2019, 10:00-24:00 - The traditional Christmas market in Mi’ilya has Christmas food stalls, artists’ stalls, Christmas candy stalls and sale of Christmas decorations. The market is also where you can see kid’s shows and towards nightfall musical performances for all the family.Tuesday – Wednesday, 2.12.2019-25.12.2019 10:00-18:00 – One of the most moving events in Mi’ilya during the Christmas season is the church service and choral singing held in the Greek Orthodox Holy Mary Church. Free admission.2019 Christmas Events in HaifaHaifa Holiday of Holidays Festival: Thursday – Sunday, 19.12.2019-28.12.2019, various hours throughout the day.The Holiday of Holiday Festival is one of the largest and most important festive season events held in Israel. 2019 will be the 26th year of this festival that takes place on weekends throughout December in the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood and down to the German Colony at the lower end of the Baha'i Garden. The holiday of Holidays celebrates Haifa’s multicultural communities and the principles of mutual respect; cultural tolerance and diversity. The city is decorated with colorful decorations and lights; there is a wide range of special events, musical performances, lectures, parties and markets held throughout Haifa. Many of the festival events have free admission and most of the exhibitions will be open from 10 am to 8 pm.Among the events of the Holiday of Holiday festival 2019:Opening Ceremony, Beit HaGefen Theatre, 19.12.2019, 20:30 – Join locals and dignitaries for a festive opening ceremony where there will be game tables, tours, musical performances, stand-up performances and much more.Christmas Parade, Ein Dor Catholic Church, 21.12.2019, 17:00 – the traditional Christmas parade in Haifa will travel down Ein Dor Street and continues to Allenby Street via the German Colony and back again.Family Happening, Beit HaGefen yard, 26.12.2019, 11:00-15:00 – This fun-filled annual happening for the whole family includes creative workshops; make-up stations; food stalls; circus performances; fun games where everyone can participate and more.
By Petal Mashraki

June 2015 Events in Israel

With summer just around the corner the arts and cultural scene in Israel heats up. June brings with it festivals, music, gay pride, dance, opera and international star performers.3-11 June – Light in Jerusalem, Old City JerusalemLight in JerusalemThe Old City of Jerusalem is lit up along four routes through the meandering cobble streets. Each route is lit in a different color and as visitors pass along the routes there are performances of music, art work from around the world, video presentations, instillations and 3D displays.3-14 June – Opera Festival at MasadaFor the 5th consecutive year there will be an amazing opera performance at the foot of Mount Masada. You can enjoy Puccini’s La Tosca or Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana each with the cliffs of Masada as the backdrop. The large-scale open-air performances make use of huge sets, elaborate lighting, multimedia and a large cast of performers.5-6 June, Goovestock Festival, Ramat NegevThis will be the first Groovestock Festival, it will include top Israeli pop and Middle Eastern performing artists. The unique environment, in the heart of the Negev Desert will add an amazing atmosphere to the event. Together with artists like Dudu Tassa, the Eccentrics and Shai Tsbari there will be top DJs.10 June – Art Garfunkel, Bloomfield Stadium, Tel AvivArt GarfunkelIconic performing artist Art Garfunkel will be in Israel without his legendary partner Paul Simon but he will be performing the duos unforgettable hits like Bridge over Troubled Water, Mrs. Robinson and Mother Mary. The 6 time Grammy award winner’s concert will also feature songs from Garfunkel’s solo career.12-13 June – Sunbeat Global Beats Festival, Galil HaElionJoin hundreds of Israelis in a weekend of non-stop music, dancing and parties. The Global Beats movement takes you on a musical journey through the cultures of Europe, Africa and the Americas. Music from clubs and communities across the globe including Morocco, Berlin and the Greece. On the festival stage the traditional sounds of many cultures will join together. There will be live performances as well as DJs. The festival will be held in the picturesque surroundings of the Galilee.12 June – gay prideTel Aviv, Meir Park Tel AvivTel Aviv has become one of the hottest gay travel destinations in the world and the top event of the year is the Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade. Pride week kicks off with speeches, activity booths and musical performances (including the Gay Youth Band of Tel Aviv) at the Gan Meir Gay Center. From here the parade sets out through the streets of Tel Aviv with parade floats, costumed dancers, music and lots of fun. The parade reaches Gordan Beach where the party really gets going. The beach party continues into the evening with top DJs providing the music.19-24 June – Tel Aviv Student Film Festival 2015Students of the Tel Aviv University film and television school present both local and international student films which compete for prizes. In addition to the screenings there will be workshops, master classes, lectures and panel discussions with guests from the film industry.24 June – Damian Marley, Rishon LeZionThe son of Bob Marley is becoming a legend in his own right performing reggae around the world. Jr. Gong, as he is also known, has won 3 Grammy awards and his single Welcome to Jamrock received accolades from Rolling Stone Magazine.24-27 June,Opera Festival L’Elisir D‘Amore,JerusalemThis festival features a performance of Donizetti’s operatic comedy L’Elisir ‘Amore as well as several other concerts which will be held throughout the city. Venues will include the Biblical Lands Museum, the Israel Museum, and the Museum of Italian Jewish Art. There will be concerts geared towards children, liturgical music, chamber music, and more.25 June – White Night Tel AvivThe annual White Night celebration is when the whole city stays awake until dawn. Restaurants, cafes, and stores open until the early hours and the municipality organizes live musical performances, dance performances, poetry readings, workshops, and special events throughout the night. Many of the events are free and others have a minimal fee. Some of the White Night events are indoors and many are outdoors. End the White Night with yoga on the beach as the sun comes up.27 June – Dire Straits, Hall 2 Tel Aviv FairgroundsFormer member of the original iconic ban, Chris White will perform one concert in Israel. White will perform with six top musicians’ songs from the heyday of Dire Straits like Romeo and Juliet, Money for Nothing, and Brothers in Arms.
By Petal Mashraki
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