Founded in 1961 the Israel Festival presents outstanding international theatre performances, contemporary dance and classical music, along with outstanding original Israeli works and open to the public street performances.  Attended by over 35,000 people, the Israel Festival is one of the city’s most important and beloved cultural assets, advancing education, empowering community and strengthening tourism and the economy. 

The eclectic programming of the Festival attracts varied audiences from Jerusalem and beyond, and is a dynamic hub for students, professional artists and culture lovers, greatly enriching the city’s cultural landscape.

Hosting leading international artists and engaging emerging and established Israeli artists, the Israel Festival provides an important platform for inter-cultural encounter and dialogue, and is vital to a modern, dynamic and pluralistic Jerusalem.  

Past festival participants include Bill Forsythe, the Kirov Ballet, Peter Brook, Complicité, Zakir Hussein, Daniel Barenboim, Laurie Anderson, Boris Charmatz, The Trisha Brown Dance Company, Robert Wilson, Lucinda Childs, Romeo Castelluchi, Jan Fabre, Philippe Quesne, Angelica Liddell, Ensemble Modern, Julien Gosselin, Xavier Le Roy, Doris Uhlich, Wang Chong, Marlene Monteiro Freitas.  Israeli artists featured in the past include the Kaveret Reunion, Shalom Hanoch, Eyal Weiser, Yossi Yizraeli, Yonatan Levi, Adina Bar-On and many more.

Beyond inspiring, memorable performances, participating artists conduct master classes and artist talks. As part of these encounters, the festival collaborates with leading art academies, professional guilds and independent artists.  The presentation of iconic and ground-breaking artists propels a lively local-global discourse amongst the artistic community, cultural consumers and the general public.

The Israel Festival is an active member of the Israel Cultural Organization Forum, the Silk Road Festival Association and the European Festival Association and Is the recipient of the EFFE Label of Excellence.

The artistic program for 2020 reflects on issues of togetherness, community, empathy, aging, privacy and technology, democracy, emergency- values that have emerged with heightened relevancy and urgency during the current pandemic.

Performances will be held at the Jerusalem Theater, Israel Museum, Sultan’s Pool, City Hall Safra Plaza, Eden Tamir Music Center in Ein Kerem, and the Hamesila, creating an inclusive, unique and inspiring artistic landscape for both performers and audiences.

This year artistic program includes works by Agrupación Señor Serrano, Théo Mercier and Steven Michel, Compañía Andrés Marín, Mathilde Monnier & Alan Pauls, Sharon Fridman, Hadas Ophrat, Saar Magal, Ariel Efraim Ashbel, Nadav Barnea, AYIT ensemble – House company of Fringe Theater Beer-Sheva, Public Movement, Pathos Mathos Company -Lilach Dekel-Avneri, Vertigo Dance Company – Power of Balance, Yasmeen Godder Company, Galit Liss, Hallel – the Israel Choral Organization and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Castle in Time Orchestra and The Lab Orchestra, Classical Music at Eden Tamir Center, Poem Ba’lev.

The 2020 Israel Festival kicks off with a special open-air concert at the Sultan’s Pool, featuring a historic reunion of Yehuda Poliker and Gidi Gov, two of Israel’s most admired and beloved musical icons.

A Greeting from the Festival Director

Dear Friends,

We are sorry that the measures forced upon us by the authorities, including shelter-in-place orders and travel restrictions prevent us from having the Israel Festival at its intended dates, obliging us to postpone it.  Under the current circumstances we cannot determine a substitute date in 2020 – it goes without saying that such date will be set as soon as it would be feasible.

 It is with great disappointment that we must suspend our plans until coming together will once again be possible.  When it does, we believe art and culture in general, and the creative voices participating in the Israel Festival in particular will be as important, inspiring and urgent as ever. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Until we meet again,

Eyal Sher
General Director

A Greeting from the Artistic Director

The 2020 Israel Festival will not take place on the scheduled date.

The world has changed, and at the present moment we cannot predict when and how, we can meet again.

There is great sadness in dealing with the absence that was created. The artistic program presented here reflects the gust of energy and the vitality that we wish to regain as we return to a world where we can once again touch one another.

The curation of the 2020 festival is rooted in the polarity between “the economy of power” and “economy of the heart.” Economy of power pertains to the great forces that drive our lives – money, religion, politics, while the economy of the heart is founded on ecology, resource sharing, building relationships that are based on empathy, undermining hierarchies, and sensitive attunement to human parameters within the socio-political dialogue. What is the relationship between these two systems? What has the coronavirus crisis done to this relationship?

It seems that now more than ever we have to rethink the values that bring us as human beings together: solidarity, sensitivity, compassion, love, and to rethink the values that connect the individual to the government that rules him. We hope that looking into the crisis will refresh our political calculators and recharge them towards a just and proper civilian life for all.

Until we meet again, we invite you to browse through the program, with the promise of being with one another again soon.

Itzik Giuli
Artistic Director

The Israel Festival Team

The Israel Festival was founded by the late Aaron Zvi Propes. The Festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Foundation, embassies, private and public foundations and corporate partners.

The Israel Festival Team:

Eyal Sher, General Director / Aviva Nir-Giladi, Assistant to the General Director / Itzik Giuli, Artistic Director / Miri Menirav, Producer / Adi Sheffi, Marketing Director / Shira Vitaly, Programming Associate & Artists Relations / Merav Kedar, Sales Director / Dina Ashkenazi, Account Manager / Itamar Bernstein,  Acting Producer / Leah Stora, Content Coordinator

Board Members:

Dan Halperin, chairman; Idit Amichay, Yehezkel Beinish, Yitzhak Ben-Nissim, Yoram Braverman, Nili Cohen, Orly Doron, Hanna Hertzman, Jonathan Livni, Dr. Tal Kohavi, Ziv Nevo Kulman, Barry Swersky, Anat Tzur, Micha Yinon

Audit Committee:  Prof. Leah Achdut, Adv. Ruth  Horn

Public Relations: Ora Lapidot, Adi Tzoref-Feldman / Public Relations Russian Sector: Sofia Nimelstein / International PR: Maayan Jaffe
Graphic Design: The League – Koby Levy & Michal Zur
Website: RSVP – Rotem Tal, Nof Harari, Khalil Jarban
Digital Media & Social Media: 6 Degs – Eyal Bason
Video Editing: Ido Cohen
Writing: Shira Vitaly
Copy editor: Gal Kusturica
English translation: Maya Shimony
Russian translation (website): Leah Greenspan, Anna Irovich
Arabic translation (website): Ola Badin – Sectors
Box office: Bimot
Accounting: Avraham Bechar & Co. / Internal Auditor: Ofer Sassover, CPA / Legal Counsel: Adv. Tamar Fineberg

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