The roots of the CULTURE OF ISRAEL developed long before the
foundation of the
State of Israel
State of Israel in 1948, and reflect Jewish history
in the diaspora ,
Jewish culture , the ideology of the Zionist
movement that developed in the late 19th century, as well as the
history and traditions of the Arab Israeli population and ethnic
minorities that live in Israel, among them Druze , Circassians ,
Armenians and more.
Tel Aviv and
Jerusalem are considered the main cultural hubs of
Israel. The New York Times has described
Tel Aviv as the "capital of
Mediterranean cool," Lonely Planet ranked it as a top ten city for
nightlife, and National Geographic named it one of the top ten beach
With over 200 museums ,
Israel has the highest number of museums per
capita in the world, with millions of visitors annually. Major art
museums operate in
Tel Aviv ,
Herzliya , as well
as in many towns and Kibbutzim . The
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
plays at venues throughout the country and abroad, and almost every
city has its own orchestra, many of the musicians hailing from the
Soviet Union . Folkdancing is popular in Israel, and Israeli
modern dance companies, among them the
Batsheva Dance Company , are
highly acclaimed in the dance world. The national theatre, Habima was
established in 1917. Israeli filmmakers and actors have won awards
at international film festivals in recent years. Since the 1980s,
Israeli literature has been widely translated, and several Israeli
writers have achieved international recognition.
* 1 History
* 1.1 \'Melting pot\' approach
* 2 Language
* 3 Education
* 4 Literature
* 5 Visual arts
* 6 Music
* 7 Dance
* 8 Museums
* 9 Theatre
* 10 Cinema
* 11 Cuisine
* 12 Fashion
* 13 Sports
* 14 Youth movements
* 15 Outdoor and vacation culture
* 16 Wedding customs
* 17 See also
* 18 References
* 19 External links
Jewish ritual objects See also:
Demographics of Israel
Demographics of Israel
With a diverse population of immigrants from five continents and more
than 100 countries, and significant subcultures like the Mizrahim ,
Russian Jews , Ethiopian Jews and the
Ultra Orthodox , each
with its own cultural networks, Israeli culture is extremely varied.
It follows cultural trends and changes across the globe as well as
expressing a unique spirit of its own. At the same time,
Israel is a
family-oriented society with a strong sense of community.
\'MELTING POT\' APPROACH
Religion in Israel and
With the waves of Jewish aliyah in the 19th and 20th centuries, the
existing culture was supplemented by the culture and traditions of the
Zionism links the Jewish people to the Land of
Israel , the homeland of the Jews between around 1200 BCE and 70 CE
(end of the
Second Temple era). However, modern
Zionism evolved both
politically and religiously. Though
Zionist groups were first
competing with other Jewish political movements,
Zionism became an
equivalent to political
Judaism during and after the
The first Israeli prime minister,
David Ben Gurion
David Ben Gurion , led a trend to
blend the many immigrants who, in the first years of the state, had
arrived from Europe, North Africa, and Asia, into one 'melting pot '
that would not differentiate between the older residents of the
country and the new immigrants. The original purpose was to unify the
newer immigrants with the veteran
Israelis for the creation of a
Hebrew culture, and to build a new nation in the country.
Two central tools employed for this purpose were the
Forces , and the education system. The
Israel Defense Forces, by means
of its transformation to a national army, would constitute a common
ground between all civilians of the country, wherever they are. The
education system, having been unified under Israeli law, enabled
different students from different sectors to study together at the
same schools. Gradually, Israeli society became more pluralistic , and
the 'melting pot' declined over the years.
Some critics of the 'melting pot' consider it to have been a
necessity in the first years of the state, in order to build a mutual
society, but now claim that there is no longer a need for it. They
instead see a need for Israeli society to enable people to express the
differences and the exclusivity of every stream and sector. Others,
Mizrahi Jews who are more
Shomer Masoret and the Holocaust
survivors , have criticized the early 'melting pot' process. According
to them, they were forced to give up or conceal their Jewish Masoret
and their diaspora heritage and culture, which they brought from their
diaspora countries, and to adopt the new secular "Sabra " culture.
Today the cultural diversity is being celebrated; many speak several
languages, continue to eat food from their cultural origins, and have
Languages of Israel
Hebrew ulpan in
Dimona , 1955
Arabic are the official languages of the State of
Israel, over 83 languages are spoken in the country.
As new immigrants arrived,
Hebrew language instruction was important.
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda , who founded the
Hebrew Language Committee, coined
thousands of new words and concepts based on Biblical, Talmudic and
other sources, to cope with the needs and demands of life in the 20th
Hebrew became a national goal, employing the slogan
"Yehudi, daber Ivrit" ("
Jew - speak Hebrew").
Special schools for
Hebrew language learning, ulpanim , were set up all over the country.
Hebraizing family names was common in the pre-state period and became
more widespread in the 1950s. In the early years of the state, a
pamphlet was published on how to choose a
Hebrew name. The prime
David Ben-Gurion , urged anyone who represented the state in
a formal capacity to adopt a
Education in Israel
Education in Israel
Israel was named the second most educated country in the
world according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development's Education at a Glance report, released in 2012. The
report found that 78% of the money invested in education is from
public funds and 45% of the population has a university or college
Book Week 2005,
Israel Museum ,
The first works of
Hebrew literature in
Israel were written by
immigrant authors rooted in the world and traditions of European
Yosef Haim Brenner (1881–1921) and Shmuel Yosef Agnon
(1888–1970), are considered by many to be the fathers of modern
Hebrew literature. Brenner, torn between hope and despair, struggled
with the reality of the
Zionist enterprise in the Land of Israel.
Agnon, Brenner's contemporary, fused his knowledge of Jewish heritage
with the influence of 19th and early 20th century European literature.
He produced fiction dealing with the disintegration of traditional
ways of life, loss of faith, and the subsequent loss of identity. In
1966, Agnon was co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Native-born writers who published their work in the 1940s and 1950s,
often called the "War of Independence generation," brought a sabra
mentality and culture to their writing. S. Yizhar, Moshe Shamir,
Hanoch Bartov and Benjamin Tammuz vacillated between individualism and
commitment to society and state. In the early 1960s,
A.B. Yehoshua ,
Amos Oz , and
Yaakov Shabtai broke away from ideologies to focus on
the world of the individual, experimenting with narrative forms and
writing styles such as psychological realism, allegory, and symbolism.
Since the 1980s and early 1990s,
Israeli literature has been widely
translated, and several Israeli writers have achieved international
Tiles in the Bezalel style, 1920s Main article: Visual arts in
From the beginning of the 20th century, visual arts in
shown a creative orientation, influenced both by the West and East, as
well as by the land itself, its development, the character of the
cities, and stylistic trends emanating from art centers abroad. In
painting, sculpture, photography, and other art forms, the country's
varied landscape is the protagonist: the hill terraces and ridges
produce special dynamics of line and shape; the foothills of the
Negev, the prevailing grayish-green vegetation, and the clear luminous
light result in distinctive color effects; and the sea and sand affect
surfaces. On the whole, local landscapes, concerns, and politics lie
at the center of Israeli art, and ensure its uniqueness.
The earliest Israeli art movement was the
Bezalel school of the
Ottoman and early Mandate period, when artists portrayed both Biblical
Zionist subjects in a style influenced by the European Art Nouveau
movement, symbolism, and traditional Persian, Jewish, and Syrian
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, 2006 Main article: Music of
Classical music in
Israel has been vibrant since the 1930s, when
hundreds of music teachers and students, composers, instrumentalists
and singers, as well as thousands of music lovers, streamed into the
country, driven by the threat of Nazism in Europe.
Israel is also home
to several world-class classical music ensembles, such as the Israel
Philharmonic and the
New Israeli Opera . The founding of The Palestine
Philharmonic Orchestra (today the
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra) in
1936 marked the beginning of Israel's classical music scene. In the
early 1980s, the
New Israeli Opera began staging productions, reviving
public enthusiasm for operatic works. Russian immigration in the 1990s
boosted the classical music arena with new talents and music lovers.
The contemporary music scene in
Israel spans the spectrum of musical
genres, and often fuses many musical influences, ranging from
Ethiopian, Middle-Eastern soul, rock, jazz, hip-hop, electronic,
Arabic, pop and mainstream. Israeli music is versatile, and combines
elements of both western and eastern music. It tends to be very
eclectic, and contains a wide variety of influences from the Diaspora
, as well as more modern cultural importations:
Hassidic songs, Asian
pop, Arab folk (especially by Yemenite singers), and Israeli hip hop
or heavy metal . Also popular are various forms of electronic music,
including trance ,
Hard trance , and
Goa trance . Notable artists from
Israel in this field are few, but include the psychedelic trance duo
Infected Mushroom .
Batsheva Dance Company co-founded by
Martha Graham and Baroness
Batsheva De Rothschild in 1964 Main article:
Dance in Israel
Traditional folk dances of
Israel include the Hora and dances
Yemenite step .
Israeli folk dancing
Israeli folk dancing today is
choreographed for recreational and performance dance groups.
Modern dance in
Israel has won international acclaim. Israeli
choreographers, among them
Ohad Naharin and
Barak Marshall , are
considered among the most versatile and original international
creators working today. Notable Israeli dance companies include the
Batsheva Dance Company , the
Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company , the
Inbal Pinto ">
Shrine of the Book
Shrine of the Book ,
Israel Museum ,
List of museums in Israel
With over 200 museums,
Israel has the highest number of museums per
capita in the world, with millions of visitors annually.
Israel Museum has a special pavilion showcasing the Dead
Sea scrolls and a large collection of Jewish religious art, Israeli
art, sculptures and Old Masters paintings. Newspapers appear in dozens
of languages, and every city and town publishes a local newsletter.
Habimah Theater in
The emergence of
Hebrew theatre predated the state by nearly 50
years. The first amateur
Hebrew theatre group was active in Palestine
from 1904 to 1914. The first professional
Hebrew theatre, Habimah ,
was founded in Moscow in 1917, and moved to Palestine in 1931, where
it became the country's national theatre. The
Ohel Theater was
founded in 1925 as a workers' theatre that explored socialist and
biblical themes. The first
Hebrew plays revolved around pioneering.
After 1948, two major motifs were the
Holocaust and the Arab-Israeli
conflict. Moshe Shamir's He Walked in the Fields in 1949 was the first
produced by a sabra writing about sabras in idiomatic and contemporary
Hebrew. In the 1950s, dramatists portrayed the gap between pre-state
dreams and disillusionment. Other plays pitted native
Holocaust survivors. Beginning in the 1960s,
Hanoch Levin wrote 56
plays and political satires. During the 1970s, Israeli theatre became
more critical, contrasting extreme images of Israeli identity, such as
the muscleman and the spiritual Jew. In the 1980s, Yehoshua Sobol
explored Israeli-Jewish identity issues. Today, Israeli theatre is
extremely diverse in content and style, and half of all plays are
Other major theatre companies include the
Cameri Theatre , Beit
Lessin Theater ,
Gesher Theater (which performs in
Haifa Theatre and
Beersheba Theater .
Founded in 1980, The
Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre
Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre is
a four-day performing arts festival held annually in early autumn at
the city of Acre . the festival became a symbol of coexistence between
the city's Jewish and Arab inhabitants.
Tel Aviv Cinematheque Main article:
Cinema of Israel
Israel has undergone major developments since its
inception in the 1950s. The first features produced and directed by
Israelis, such as "Hill 24 Doesn\'t Answer " and "They Were Ten",
Israeli literature of the period, to be cast in the
heroic mold. Some recent films remain deeply rooted in the Israeli
experience, dealing with such subjects as
Holocaust survivors and
their children (
Gila Almagor 's "The Summer of Aviya" and its sequel,
"Under the Domim Tree") and the travails of new immigrants ("Sh'hur",
directed by Hannah Azoulai and Shmuel Hasfari, "Late Marriage"
Dover Koshashvili ).
Others deal with issues of modern-day Israeli life, such as the
Israeli-Arab conflict (Eran Riklis's "The Lemon Tree", Scandar Copti
and Yaron Shani's "Ajami ") and military service (
Joseph Cedar 's
"Beaufort ", Samuel Maoz's "Lebanon",
Eytan Fox 's "Yossi and
Jagger"). Some are set in the context of a universalist, alienated,
and hedonistic society (Eytan Fox's "A Siren's Song" and "The Bubble",
Ayelet Menahemi and Nirit Yaron's "
Tel Aviv Stories").
The Israeli film industry continues to gain worldwide recognition
through International awards nominations. For three years
consecutively, Israeli films ("Beaufort " (2008), "
Waltz with Bashir "
(2009) and "Ajami " (2010)) were nominated for Academy Awards. The
Spielberg Film Archive at the
Hebrew University of
Jerusalem is the
world's largest repository of film material on Jewish themes as well
as on Jewish and Israeli life.
The main international film festivals in
Israel are the Jerusalem
Film Festival and
Haifa Film Festival .
The heterogeneous nature of culture in
Israel is also manifested in
Israeli cuisine , a diverse combination of local ingredients and
dishes, with diasporic dishes from around the world. An Israeli
fusion cuisine has developed, with the adoption and continued adaption
of elements of various Jewish styles of cuisine including
Sephardic , Yemeni Jewish and
Ashkenazi , and many foods
traditionally eaten in the Middle East.
Israeli cuisine is also
influenced by geography, giving prominence to foods common in the
Mediterranean region such as olives, chickpeas, dairy products, fish,
and fresh fruits and vegetables. The main meal is usually lunch rather
than dinner. Jewish holidays influence the cuisine, with many
traditional foods served at holiday times. Shabbat dinner, eaten on
Friday night, is a significant meal in a large proportion of Israeli
homes. While not all Jews in
Israel keep kosher , the observance of
kashrut influences the menu in homes, public institutions and many
In 2013, an Israeli cookbook, "Seafoodpedia," won "Best in World" in
its category at the
Gourmand World Cookbook Award in Paris, and
"Jerusalem, A Cookbook," published by the Israeli-Palestinian team of
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi , won "Best in the World" for
Israel has become an international center of fashion and design. Tel
Aviv has been called the “next hot destination” for fashion.
Israeli designers, such as swimwear company
Gottex , show their
collections at leading fashion shows, including New York’s Bryant
Park fashion show. In 2011,
Tel Aviv hosted its first Fashion Week
since the 1980s, with Italian designer
Roberto Cavalli as a guest of
Gal Fridman , winner of Israel's first Olympic gold medal Main
Sports in Israel
Physical fitness received a boost in the 19th century from the
physical culture campaign of
Max Nordau . The
Maccabiah Games , an
Olympic-style event for Jewish athletes, was inaugurated in the 1930s,
and has been held in
Israel every four years since then.
Israel hosted and won the
AFC Asian Cup ; in 1970, the
Israel national football team
Israel national football team managed to qualify to the FIFA World Cup
, which is still considered the biggest achievement in Israeli
Israel was excluded from the
1978 Asian Games
1978 Asian Games due to Arab
pressure, and since 1994 all Israeli sporting organizations now
compete in Europe.
Football (soccer) and basketball are the most popular sports in
Israeli Premier League
Israeli Premier League is the country's Premier Soccer
League , and Ligat ha\'Al is the premier basketball league. Maccabi
Haifa , Maccabi
Tel Aviv , Hapoel
Tel Aviv and Beitar
the largest sports clubs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa, and Hapoel
Tel Aviv have competed in the
UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League , and Hapoel Tel
Aviv reached the Quarterfinal in the
UEFA Cup . Maccabi
Tel Aviv B.C.
has won the
European Championship in basketball six times. Israeli
tennis champion Shahar Pe\'er peaked at 11th on the WTA rank list, a
Beersheba has become a national chess center; as a
result of Soviet immigration, it is home to the largest number of
chess grandmasters of any city in the world. The city hosted the World
Chess Championship in 2005. Israeli chess teams won the silver
medal at the 2008
Chess Olympiad and the bronze medal at the 2010
Chess Olympiad . Israeli Grandmaster
Boris Gelfand won the Chess
World Cup 2009 , and played for the World Champion title in the World
Chess Championship 2012 .
Israel has won seven Olympic medals since its first win in
1992 , including a gold medal in windsurfing at the 2004 Summer
Israel has won over 100 gold medals in the Paralympic Games
, and is ranked about 15th in the All-time
Paralympic Games medal
table . The
1968 Summer Paralympics were hosted by Israel.
Tzofim Israeli scout movement fire ceremony in
Youth movements were an important feature of
Israel from its earliest
days. In the 1950s, these movements were categorized in three groups:
Zionist youth groups promoting social ideals and the importance of
agricultural and communal settlement; working youth promoting
educational goals and occupational advancement; and recreational
groups with a strong emphasis on sports and leisure-time activities.
OUTDOOR AND VACATION CULTURE
Camping and hiking are an integral part of Israeli culture. National
parks and nature reserves across
Israel register some 6.5 million
visits a year. Schools and youth groups are taken on annual hiking
trips throughout the country, raising children with an affinity for
hiking and other outdoor activities. Consequently, many young Israelis
take several months to a year off to travel the world, primarily to
hike and experience the outdoors in remote, mountainous areas, such as
Nepal, India, China, Chile, and Peru.
Along the 190 kilometres (120 mi) of the Israeli Mediterranean coast,
two thirds are accessible to bathing activities.
Israel has 100 surf
bathing beaches, guarded by professional lifeguards.
Matkot is a
popular paddle ball game similar to beach tennis , often referred to
as the country's national sport.
Yemenite Jewish bride at her henna party, 1958 Main article:
Marriage in Israel
All marriages between Jews in
Israel are registered with the Chief
Rabbinate , and the ceremony follows traditional Jewish practice .
Civil ceremonies are not performed in Israel, although a growing
number of secular couples circumvent this by traveling to nearby
locations such as Cyprus. While some Jews in
Israel have adopted
Western styles of dress, traditional clothing and jewelry are
sometimes brought out for pre-wedding rituals, including the Night of
the Henna that is very customary practice among
Mizrahi Jews .
Israel Radio International
Israel Radio International , official radio service for immigrants
and listeners outside Israel
Kol Yisrael , Israel's public domestic and international radio
List of Israeli musical artists
List of Israeli visual artists
* List of
Hebrew language poets
* List of
Hebrew language authors
List of Israeli actors
* List of
Hebrew language playwrights
Media of Israel
Science and technology in Israel
Religion in Israel
* ^ Absolut bottle dedicated to Tel Aviv
* ^ A B "Science & Technology". Consulate General of
Israel in Los
Angeles. Archived from the original on 2007-04-16. Retrieved
* ^ Israeli film wins award in Cannes Film Festival
* ^ Israeli wins best actress at Venice Film Festival
* ^ Another Israeli film awarded in Berlin
* ^ A B C D Focus on Israel: Language and Literature in Israel
* ^ Break dancing across the Green Line
* ^ Dr. Sergey Zagraevsky. The Past, the Present and the Future of
the Jewish nation
* ^ Lisa Owings, Israel, 2013, ABDO Publishing Company.
* ^ Diverse cultures of
Israel on screen
* ^ Culture in Israel
* ^ In the name of Zionism, change your name,
Israel ranked second most educated country in the world, study
* ^ CULTUREIL- Art - Everything about Israeli Culture and more
* ^ Israeli Dance
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Galilee - Culture".
Galilee Development Authority. Archived
from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
* ^ "
Karmiel Dance Festival". ACTCOM-Active Communication Ltd.
Archived from the original on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
* ^ "
Karmiel Dance Festival".
Karmiel Dance Festival. Retrieved
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2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
* ^ "Gurit Kadman". PhantomRanch.net. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Ana Laguna to Perform in Israel
* ^ A B C Israeli Theatre: A culmination of foreign and native
* ^ Israeli Culture: Cinema
* ^ A B Characteristics of Israeli Cuisine
* ^ A region\'s tastes commingle
* ^ Roden, The
Book of Jewish Food, pp 202-207
* ^ Gur,The
Book of New Israeli Food
* ^ Israeli cuisince is having a moment
* ^ What’s New in Tel Aviv, by David Kaufman, March 2008.
* ^ Promoting
Israel in a Downturn, David Saranga, 17 December 2008
* ^ Fashion Week: Gottex, 9 September 2008.
* ^ Merle Ginsberg (2011-11-21). "
Roberto Cavalli Shows Spring 2012
Collection at First Ever
Tel Aviv Fashion Week". The Hollywood
Reporter. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
* ^ "World Cup final: Gelfand beats Ponomariov to win the Cup".
ChessBase News. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
* ^ "WCh Tiebreak: Anand draws final game, retains title!".
ChessBase News. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
* ^ Youth, Culture and Social Structure in Israel, S. N. Eisenstadt
* ^ Beach Safety Management
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* ^ All about Marriage and Weddings in Judaism
Israelis seeking alternatives to traditional wedding ceremonies
Israelis turn to secular weddingsad
* ^ "Dress Codes: Revealing the Jewish Wardrobe", An exhibition
focusing on this collection was presented at the
Jerusalem March 11, 2014-October 18, 2014