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Israel’s 10 Best Cultural Events: Spring/Summer Events in Israel
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Israel’s 10 Best Cultural Events: Spring/Summer Events in Israel

Picture of James Norman
Updated: 9 February 2017
Israel has a rich and fascinating history, with numerous cities of historical and cultural importance, including Jerusalem, Nazareth and the vibrant, youthful Tel Aviv. This year’s cultural calendar is filled with unmissable events ranging from contemporary art and food to music and traditional culture. We explore ten of the best cultural events in Israel in spring and summer.
Haifa - Israel
© Bianka Kubiak

 

Crafts | Nachlat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Fair: Biweekly event

Occurring each week on Tuesdays and Fridays, the Nachlat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Fair is the largest fair in Israel and is regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful markets. It has been open since 1988 and has been captivating audiences ever since. Visitors can peruse the materials on offer and browse through various vendor stalls, which sell a diverse selection of wares including local ceramics, jewellery and toys. There is more to this market than just stalls, with live performances enchanting visitors as they drop by. Stare in amazement at the street performances, laugh at the clowns, and ponder your future with a number of mysterious fortunetellers. The fair specialises in handmade and unique products, with an exciting array of creations available to buy. There are also notable buildings and coffee shops lining the paths, to make the trip even more enjoyable.

Nachlat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Fair, Tel Aviv Promenade, 46 Herbert Samuel Street, 2 Guela Street, Tel Aviv, Israel, +972 3 516 618

 

Dolls Exhibition
Image courtesy ShirrStone Shelter dolls

 

Art | Dolls Art Exhibition at the Museum of Antiquities

Until 19 July

Housed within the Museum of Antiquities of Tel Aviv Jaffa, the Dolls Art exhibition features an interesting collection of Israeli and international dolls, handmade with a variety of different looks. The dolls are the result of creative energies influenced by fairy tales, myths, legends and operas. They are infused with aspects taken from different cultures throughout history, and made with various materials including china, plastic, metal and wood. The building that houses this event is known as the Ancient Saraya, and originally served as an Ottoman governance building.

Museum of Antiquities of Tel Aviv Jaffa, Mifrats Shlomo Street 10, Tel Aviv, Israel, + 972 3 682 5375

 

Jerusalem - Israel
© Bianka Kubiak

History | Face to Face: The Oldest Masks in the World at the Israel Museum

11 March – 11 September

This fascinating collection of ancient masks includes a wondrous selection of 9,000-year-old stone masks originating from Israel. The masks are considered to be some of the oldest recorded human portraits in existence. The exhibition is doubly exciting as it marks the first time that the masks have been showcased all together in their country of origin. The Israel Museum, which is the country’s largest cultural body, founded in 1965 and home to a collection of religious relics and artifacts including the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, is hosting the exhibition in Jerusalem.

The Israel Museum, Nakhman Avigad Street, Jerusalem, Israel, +972 54 555 0686

 


Film | Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival

8 – 17 May

A film festival with a difference, this festival focuses purely on documentary films and is the only one of its kind in Israel. The Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival is the largest film festival in Tel Aviv, showcasing around 90 documentaries, both Israeli and international productions. The event is a competitive affair, making the experience more enjoyable for audiences as they view high quality film making. Outside of the films themselves, there are also other events including discussion groups, workshops and training sessions to tempt visitors into getting interactive during the festival.

Docaviv International Film Festival, Tel Aviv Cinematheque, Shprintsak Street 2, Tel Aviv, Israel, +972 3 624 1797

 


Art | Hidden Power in African Art

21 May – 17 September

Housed within the Nathan Cummings Building for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Israel Museum, curator Dorit Shafir has amassed a collection of powerful African art pieces. The collection includes wooden sculptures and masks that have been brought together from personal contributors as well as the Museum’s own collection. The purpose behind this fascinating exhibition is to explore the mysteries and power behind the art which has made such a powerful impact on European styles and designs. More specifically, the curation focuses on the nature of the pieces being used as magical and spiritual tools to communicate with otherworldly beings, each magical element contributing to the ‘power’ of the pieces created. This is a magical event not to be missed and offers a unique insight into the African art form.

The Israel Museum, Nakhman Avigad Street, Jerusalem, Israel, +972 54 555 0686

 

Bethlehem - Israel
© Bianka Kubiak

 

Culture | Passover

16 – 20 April

Passover (Pesach) is a Jewish festival that commemorates the Jewish liberation from Egyptian slavery 3,300 years ago. Every Passover event, the Hapoalim Bank sponsors free entry into over 40 museums, national parks and heritage sites all over the country. This is a fantastic opportunity for locals and international visitors alike to see some of the greatest historical collections and areas of natural beauty in Israel. Some of the standout places to visit during the event include the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the International Stone Sculpture Symposium, Israel’s best place to admire sculpture, the Haifa City Museum and the Haifa Zoo, as well as the beautiful Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

Venues across Israel

 

Music | Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival

22 – 24 May

This intriguing musical event is a social extravaganza, perfect for those with a passion for folk music. Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival covers a diverse range of folk based tunes, with styles including country rock, blues, world music and even jovial Irish jigs. This international festival is an annual occurrence, usually during the month of May, and this year is no exception. Starting with a chilled-out evening, the event evolves into a full blown musical experience, with concerts and activities including tent-covered storytelling centres, and yoga and tai chi classes. Visitors can also enjoy a cooling swim, and creative arts fairs.

Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival, Nof Ginnosar Hotel by The Sea of Galilee, Israel


 

Opera | La Traviata at Masada Opera Festival

12 – 17 June

This beautiful event allows visitors to enjoy the exquisite sounds of the Israeli Opera, performed in the impressive Masada Fortress. Over the years, the Masada Opera Festival has gained renown for staging famous operas including the popular Aida, Carmen and Nabucco. This year’s event, a performance of Verdi’s finest work, La Traviata, will proceed under the conductorship of Daniel Oren. As well as stunning opera, there will be other breathtaking performances at the Masada Opera Festival including Beethoven performed by the Israeli Philharmonic, and the enchanting voice of Israeli singer Idan Raichel.

Masada Opera Festival, Masada Fortress, Dead Sea, Israel

 

Culture | The Israel Festival

23 May – 22 June

This festival is a traditional celebration held in Jerusalem, which showcases a wide collection of cultural performances courtesy of both Israeli and international participants. The Israel Festival is held in a variety of locations in Jerusalem and includes both seasoned and fresh musical and dance performances for adults and children. Its origins date back to 1961, when it was founded by Aaron Zvi Propes in the guise of a summer music festival. It was then held in the Roman theatre at Caesarea, before Jerusalem City became the main host in 1982. The event, based at the Jerusalem Theatre, is an artistic feast for the senses, not to be missed when visiting the city.

The Israel Festival, The Jerusalem Theatre, 20 Marcus Street, Jerusalem, Israel, +972 2 560 5755

 

Music | Yanni Concert

4 June

Hugely popular throughout Europe, and the world, Greek musician Yanni is renowned for being one today’s finest living composers, pushing the boundaries with his powerful compositions and performances. This June, Yanni will be performing in Tel Aviv to packed-out audiences at the Nokia Arena. His critically acclaimed music has been featured at the Olympic Games and during the Tour de France, and played in some of the word’s finest venues, including the Acropolis (Greece), the Taj Mahal (India), and the Forbidden City (China).

Yanni in Tel Aviv, Nokia Arena, Tel Aviv, Israel

 

The Deas Sea - Israel
© Bianka Kubiak

By James Norman