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 Liddel, 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 2019 reflects on current issues and expressions of identity, while exploring the boundaries of artistic creation and the separation of “artist” and “viewer”, “self” and the “other.”

Performances will be held at the Jerusalem Theater, the Tower of David, the Museum for Islamic Art, a City Hall rooftop, Eden Tamir Music Center in Ein Kerem, and Zik Studio in Beit Nekofa, creating an inclusive, unique and inspiring artistic landscape for both performers and audiences.

This year international program includes works by Jefta Van Dinther, Deborah Hay, Philippe Quesne, Steven Cohen, Martin Zimmermann, Robyn Orlin, Marcelo Evelin, the Cullbergbaletten, and the Song of Goat theater group, alongside a string of Israeli premieres from Clipa Theater, Elad Theater, Zvi Sahar and Itim Ensemble, Zik theater group, The Great Gehenna Choir, The Revolution Orchestra and the DAVAI theater group.

The 2019 Israel Festival kicks off with a special open-air concert and After Party at the Jerusalem Theatre, featuring a sizzling lineup of leading musicians and producers in the israeli beat scene under the artistic direction of Gilad Kahana.   Atar Mayner on the DJ table, Dor 3, RASTA HAI, Damsel is Depressed, Eden Dersso, DIGITAL MONX – the intriguing new group of Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box), Itamar Ziegler, Ron Bunker, and Tom Darom featuring Tomer Yosef, Gili Yalo, Eden Dersso, ELISEE, A-WA and Gilad Kahana himself for a wild concert-party of rap, hip hop, Africa and tropical bass.  A tribal gathering for a celebration of beat freedom.

A Greeting from the
Festival Director

We are delighted to present the 58th Israel Festival artistic program and invite you to enjoy the finest contemporary works created for the stage in Israel and around the world.

Join us for two and half weeks of extraordinary shows that explore, provoke, entertain, move, and inspire. The Israel Festival is a call for adventure. Come to two, three, four shows or more – we promise a voyage like no other!
Culture offers a unique opportunity for encounter and dialogue, allowing us to meet “the other” and gain insight into their world while shedding new light on ours. Indeed, we believe that one of art’s most critical roles is to break through the real and imaginary barriers between people, communities and nations, and to serve as a bridge between them. In the face of growing attempts to narrow the freedom of artistic expression for fear that the exploration of controversial issues might give a voice to varied ideological opinions, the Israel Festival artistic program is committed to unwavering independent curatorship driven by a steadfast strive for artistic excellence.

We thank the Ministry of Culture, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Foundation, the Israeli Lottery Council, the foreign embassies, corporate sponsors and private donors who share the Festival’s values and support our efforts to realize our vision of enriching the cultural landscape, widening the artistic discourse, and contributing to the multicultural character of Jerusalem and to peace between the nations.

Thank you to the board members.
Thank you to the most professional and dedicated festival staff in the world.
Thank you to all the participating artists and performers.
And thank you, dear audience, for joining us on this fascinating journey.

See you at the festival!
Eyal Sher
General Director

A Greeting from the
Festival Artistic Director

To our returning visitors – glad you are here; to new ones who are joining us – happy to meet you.

In these times, it seems that we have to talk about identity – what it does to us and how it affects us, what are the forces that dominate this discourse and where they lead it, and where culture stands and what role it plays in all this.

Many of the shows we chose for the 2019 Festival will examine these issues, directly and implicitly, and try to turn the spotlight on the multiple social and personal voices that exist at the core of identity and the debate that surrounds it. Some of the artistic voices in the festival program touch on the desire to look at wider group experiences; other voices turn to look at the personal and the private; and all of them transform familiar concepts, delineating aesthetic boundaries that underscore what it means to be individuals who sometimes try to blend in with the crowd, and sometimes try to imagine our inner self shining in the dark of night.

We invite you with love to share our 2019 voyage. Vital turbulences guaranteed.

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 / Gavriel Goodman,  Acting Producer / Maayan Navon, Production coordinator / 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, Ziv Nevo Kulman, Ruta Peled, 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 Public Relations:  Lydia Weitzman & Caroline Shapiro /
Graphic Design: The League – Koby Levy & Michal Zur
Website: RSVP – Niv Farchi, Sagi Banduil, Nof Harari, Khalil Jarban
Digital Media & Social Media: 6 Degs – Eyal Bason, Analog – Yuval Haring
Video Editing: Yair Moss
Writing: Shira Vitaly
Copy editor: Gal Kusturica
English translation: Maya Shimony
Russian translation (website): Leah Greenspan, Anna Irovich
Arabic translation (website): Sectors, Metanes Farah
Box office: Bimot
Accounting: Avraham Bechar & Co. / Internal Auditor: Ofer Sassover, CPA / Legal Counsel: Adv. Tamar Fineberg

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