Israel | culture


Israel's diverse culture stems from the diversity of its population: Jews from diaspora communities around the world have brought their cultural and religious traditions back with them, creating a melting pot of Jewish customs and beliefs.[560] Israel is the only country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar. Work and school holidays are determined by the Jewish holidays, and the official day of rest is Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.[561] Israel's substantial Arab minority has also left its imprint on Israeli culture in such spheres as architecture,[562] music,[563] and cuisine.[564]


Israeli literature is primarily poetry and prose written in Hebrew, as part of the renaissance of Hebrew as a spoken language since the mid-19th century, although a small body of literature is published in other languages, such as English. By law, two copies of all printed matter published in Israel must be deposited in the National Library of Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2001, the law was amended to include audio and video recordings, and other non-print media.[565] In 2016, 89 percent of the 7,300 books transferred to the library were in Hebrew.[566] The Hebrew Book Week is held each June and features book fairs, public readings, and appearances by Israeli authors around the country. During the week, Israel's top literary award, the Sapir Prize, is presented.[citation needed]

In 1966, Shmuel Yosef Agnon shared the Nobel Prize in Literature with German Jewish author Nelly Sachs.[567] Leading Israeli poets have been Yehuda Amichai, Nathan Alterman, Leah Goldberg, and Rachel Bluwstein. Internationally famous contemporary Israeli novelists include Amos Oz, Etgar Keret and David Grossman. The Israeli-Arab satirist Sayed Kashua (who writes in Hebrew) is also internationally known.[citation needed] Israel has also been the home of two leading Palestinian poets and writers: Emile Habibi, whose novel The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist, and other writings, won him the Israel prize for Arabic literature; and Mahmoud Darwish, considered by many to be "the Palestinian national poet."[568] Darwish was born and raised in northern Israel, but lived his adult life abroad after joining the Palestine Liberation Organization.[citation needed]

Music and dance

Israeli music contains musical influences from all over the world; Mizrahi and Sephardic music, Hasidic melodies, Greek music, jazz, and pop rock are all part of the music scene.[569][570] Among Israel's world-renowned[571][572] orchestras is the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which has been in operation for over seventy years and today performs more than two hundred concerts each year.[573] Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Ofra Haza are among the internationally acclaimed musicians born in Israel.[citation needed] Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest nearly every year since 1973, winning the competition four times and hosting it twice.[574][575] Eilat has hosted its own international music festival, the Red Sea Jazz Festival, every summer since 1987.[576] Israel is home to many Palestinian musicians, including an oud group Le Trio Joubran and singer Amal Murkus. The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance has an advanced degree program in Arabic music, headed by oud virtuoso Taiseer Elias.[citation needed]

The nation's canonical folk songs, known as "Songs of the Land of Israel," deal with the experiences of the pioneers in building the Jewish homeland.[577] The Hora circle dance introduced by early Jewish settlers was originally popular in the kibbutzim and outlying communities. It became a symbol of the Zionist reconstruction and of the ability to experience joy amidst austerity. It now plays a significant role in modern Israeli folk dancing and is regularly performed at weddings and other celebrations, and in group dances throughout Israel.[citation needed] Modern dance in Israel is a flourishing field, and several Israeli choreographers such as Ohad Naharin and Barak Marshall and many others, are considered[by whom?] to be among the most versatile and original international creators working today. Famous Israeli companies include the Batsheva Dance Company and the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.[citation needed]

Cinema and theatre

Ten Israeli films have been final nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards since the establishment of Israel. The 2009 movie Ajami was the third consecutive nomination of an Israeli film.[578] Palestinian Israeli filmmakers have made a number of films dealing with the Arab-Israel conflict and the status of Palestinians within Israel, such as Mohammed Bakri's 2002 film Jenin, Jenin and The Syrian Bride.[citation needed]

Continuing the strong theatrical traditions of the Yiddish theatre in Eastern Europe, Israel maintains a vibrant theatre scene. Founded in 1918, Habima Theatre in Tel Aviv is Israel's oldest repertory theater company and national theater.[579]


The 2017 Freedom of the Press annual report by Freedom House ranked Israel as the Middle East and North Africa's most free country, and 64th globally.[580] In the 2017 Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, Israel (including "Israel extraterritorial" since 2013 ranking)[581] was placed 91st of 180 countries, first in the Middle East and North Africa region.[582]


Shrine of the Book, repository of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is one of Israel's most important cultural institutions[583] and houses the Dead Sea Scrolls,[584] along with an extensive collection of Judaica and European art.[583] Israel's national Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, is the world central archive of Holocaust-related information.[585] Beit Hatfutsot ("The Diaspora House"), on the campus of Tel Aviv University, is an interactive museum devoted to the history of Jewish communities around the world.[586] Apart from the major museums in large cities, there are high-quality artspaces in many towns and kibbutzim. Mishkan LeOmanut in kibbutz Ein Harod Meuhad is the largest art museum in the north of the country.[587]

Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world.[588] Several Israeli museums are devoted to Islamic culture, including the Rockefeller Museum and the L. A. Mayer Institute for Islamic Art, both in Jerusalem. The Rockefeller specializes in archaeological remains from the Ottoman and other periods of Middle East history. It is also the home of the first hominid fossil skull found in Western Asia called Galilee Man.[589] A cast of the skull is on display at the Israel Museum.[590]


A meal including falafel, hummus, French fries and Israeli salad

Israeli cuisine includes local dishes as well as Jewish cuisine brought to the country by immigrants from the diaspora. Since the establishment of the state in 1948, and particularly since the late 1970s, an Israeli fusion cuisine has developed.[591] Israeli cuisine has adopted, and continues to adapt, elements of the Mizrahi, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi styles of cooking. It incorporates many foods traditionally eaten in the Levantine, Arab, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, such as falafel, hummus, shakshouka, couscous, and za'atar. Schnitzel, pizza, hamburgers, French fries, rice and salad are also common in Israel.[citation needed]

Roughly half of the Israeli-Jewish population attests to keeping kosher at home.[592][593] Kosher restaurants, though rare in the 1960s, make up around 25% of the total as of 2015, perhaps reflecting the largely secular values of those who dine out.[591] Hotel restaurants are much more likely to serve kosher food.[591] The non-kosher retail market was traditionally sparse, but grew rapidly and considerably following the influx of immigrants from the post-Soviet states during the 1990s.[594] Together with non-kosher fish, rabbits and ostriches, pork—often called "white meat" in Israel[594]—is produced and consumed, though it is forbidden by both Judaism and Islam.[595]


Teddy Stadium of Jerusalem

The most popular spectator sports in Israel are association football and basketball.[596] The Israeli Premier League is the country's premier football league, and the Israeli Basketball Premier League is the premier basketball league.[597] Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem are the largest football clubs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv have competed in the UEFA Champions League and Hapoel Tel Aviv reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Israel hosted and won the 1964 AFC Asian Cup; in 1970 the Israel national football team qualified for the FIFA World Cup, the only time it participated in the World Cup. The 1974 Asian Games held in Tehran, were the last Asian Games in which Israel participated, and was plagued by the Arab countries which refused to compete with Israel. Israel was excluded from the 1978 Asian Games and since then has not competed in Asian sport events.[598] In 1994, UEFA agreed to admit Israel and its soccer teams now compete in Europe.[citation needed] Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C. has won the European championship in basketball six times.[599] In 2016, the country was chosen as a host for the EuroBasket 2017.

Boris Gelfand, chess Grandmaster

Chess is a leading sport in Israel and is enjoyed by people of all ages. There are many Israeli grandmasters and Israeli chess players have won a number of youth world championships.[600] Israel stages an annual international championship and hosted the World Team Chess Championship in 2005. The Ministry of Education and the World Chess Federation agreed upon a project of teaching chess within Israeli schools, and it has been introduced into the curriculum of some schools.[601] The city of Beersheba has become a national chess center, with the game being taught in the city's kindergartens. Owing partly to Soviet immigration, it is home to the largest number of chess grandmasters of any city in the world.[602][603] The Israeli chess team won the silver medal at the 2008 Chess Olympiad[604] and the bronze, coming in third among 148 teams, at the 2010 Olympiad. Israeli grandmaster Boris Gelfand won the Chess World Cup 2009[605] and the 2011 Candidates Tournament for the right to challenge the world champion. He only lost the World Chess Championship 2012 to reigning world champion Anand after a speed-chess tie breaker.

Israel has won nine Olympic medals since its first win in 1992, including a gold medal in windsurfing at the 2004 Summer Olympics.[606] Israel has won over 100 gold medals in the Paralympic Games and is ranked 20th in the all-time medal count. The 1968 Summer Paralympics were hosted by Israel.[607] The Maccabiah Games, an Olympic-style event for Jewish and Israeli athletes, was inaugurated in the 1930s, and has been held every four years since then. Israeli tennis champion Shahar Pe'er ranked 11th in the world on 31 January 2011.[608] Krav Maga, a martial art developed by Jewish ghetto defenders during the struggle against fascism in Europe, is used by the Israeli security forces and police. Its effectiveness and practical approach to self-defense, have won it widespread admiration and adherence around the world.[609]

Other Languages
Acèh: Israèl
Адыгэбзэ: Исраел
адыгабзэ: Исраил
Afrikaans: Israel
Alemannisch: Israel
አማርኛ: እስራኤል
Ænglisc: Israhēl
العربية: إسرائيل
aragonés: Israel
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܐܝܣܪܐܝܠ
armãneashti: Israel
arpetan: Israèl
অসমীয়া: ইজৰাইল
asturianu: Israel
Avañe'ẽ: Israel
azərbaycanca: İsrail
تۆرکجه: ايسرائيل
bamanankan: Israil
বাংলা: ইসরায়েল
Bân-lâm-gú: Í-sek-lia̍t
башҡортса: Израиль
беларуская: Ізраіль
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ізраіль
भोजपुरी: इजराइल
Bikol Central: Israel
български: Израел
Boarisch: Israel
bosanski: Izrael
brezhoneg: Israel
буряад: Израиль
català: Israel
Чӑвашла: Израиль
Cebuano: Israel
čeština: Izrael
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Israel
chiShona: Israel
chiTumbuka: Israel
corsu: Israele
Cymraeg: Israel
dansk: Israel
davvisámegiella: Israel
Deutsch: Israel
ދިވެހިބަސް: އިސްރާއީލު
dolnoserbski: Israel
eesti: Iisrael
Ελληνικά: Ισραήλ
español: Israel
Esperanto: Israelo
estremeñu: Israel
euskara: Israel
فارسی: اسرائیل
Fiji Hindi: Israel
føroyskt: Ísrael
français: Israël
Frysk: Israel
Gaeilge: Iosrael
Gaelg: Israel
Gagauz: İsrail
Gàidhlig: Iosrael
galego: Israel
贛語: 以色列
Gĩkũyũ: Israel
ગુજરાતી: ઈઝરાયલ
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌹𐍃𐍂𐌰𐌴𐌻
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: इस्राएल
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yî-set-lie̍t
한국어: 이스라엘
Hausa: Isra'ila
Hawaiʻi: ʻIseraʻela
Հայերեն: Իսրայել
हिन्दी: इज़राइल
hornjoserbsce: Israel
hrvatski: Izrael
Ido: Israel
Igbo: Israel
Ilokano: Israel
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: ইসরাইল
Bahasa Indonesia: Israel
interlingua: Israel
Interlingue: Israel
Ирон: Израиль
isiZulu: Isreyili
íslenska: Ísrael
italiano: Israele
עברית: ישראל
Basa Jawa: Israèl
kalaallisut: Israel
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಇಸ್ರೇಲ್
Kapampangan: Israel
ქართული: ისრაელი
kaszëbsczi: Izrael
қазақша: Израиль
kernowek: Ysrael
Kinyarwanda: Isirayeli
Kiswahili: Israel
коми: Израиль
Kongo: Israel
Kreyòl ayisyen: Izrayèl
kurdî: Îsraêl
Кыргызча: Асрайыл
Ladino: Israel
лезги: Израиль
لۊری شومالی: اٛسرائيل
Latina: Israël
latviešu: Izraēla
Lëtzebuergesch: Israel
lietuvių: Izraelis
Ligure: Isræ
Limburgs: Israël
lingála: Israel
Livvinkarjala: Izrail
la .lojban.: brogu'e
lumbaart: Israel
magyar: Izrael
मैथिली: इजरायल
македонски: Израел
Malagasy: Isiraely
മലയാളം: ഇസ്രയേൽ
Malti: Iżrael
Māori: Iharaira
मराठी: इस्रायल
მარგალური: ისრაელი
مصرى: اسرائيل
مازِرونی: اسرائیل
Bahasa Melayu: Israel
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ī-sáik-liĕk
Mirandés: Eisrael
мокшень: Израиль
монгол: Израиль
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အစ္စရေးနိုင်ငံ
Nāhuatl: Israel
Dorerin Naoero: Iteraer
Na Vosa Vakaviti: Isireli
Nederlands: Israël
Nedersaksies: Israël
नेपाली: इजरायल
नेपाल भाषा: इजरायल
日本語: イスラエル
Napulitano: Israele
нохчийн: Израиль
Nordfriisk: Israel
Norfuk / Pitkern: Esrail
norsk: Israel
norsk nynorsk: Israel
Novial: Israel
occitan: Israèl
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ଇସ୍ରାଏଲ
Oromoo: Isiraa'el
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Isroil
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਇਜ਼ਰਾਇਲ
पालि: इस्रैल
Pälzisch: Israel
پنجابی: اسرائیل
Papiamentu: Israel
پښتو: اسرائيل
Patois: Izrel
Перем Коми: Исраэль
ភាសាខ្មែរ: អ៊ីស្រាអែល
Piemontèis: Israel
Tok Pisin: Israel
Plattdüütsch: Israel
polski: Izrael
Ποντιακά: Ισραήλ
português: Israel
Qaraqalpaqsha: İzrail
qırımtatarca: İsrail
Ripoarisch: Israel
română: Israel
Romani: Israel
Runa Simi: Israyil
русиньскый: Ізраіль
русский: Израиль
саха тыла: Исраил
Gagana Samoa: Isalaeru
संस्कृतम्: इजराइल
sardu: Israele
Scots: Israel
Seeltersk: Israel
Sesotho sa Leboa: Israel
shqip: Izraeli
sicilianu: Israeli
Simple English: Israel
SiSwati: Ka-Israyeli
slovenčina: Izrael
slovenščina: Izrael
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Їꙁдраил҄ь
ślůnski: Izrael
Soomaaliga: Israaiil
کوردی: ئیسرائیل
Sranantongo: Israel
српски / srpski: Израел
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Izrael
Basa Sunda: Israél
suomi: Israel
svenska: Israel
Tagalog: Israel
தமிழ்: இசுரேல்
Taqbaylit: Israyil
tarandíne: Isdraele
татарча/tatarça: Исраил
తెలుగు: ఇజ్రాయిల్
tetun: Izraél
тоҷикӣ: Исроил
ತುಳು: ಇಸ್ರೇಲ್
Türkçe: İsrail
Türkmençe: Ysraýyl
удмурт: Израиль
українська: Ізраїль
اردو: اسرائیل
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ئىسرائىلىيە
Vahcuengh: Israel
vèneto: Israełe
vepsän kel’: Izrail'
Tiếng Việt: Israel
Volapük: Yisraelän
Võro: Iisrael
文言: 以色列
West-Vlams: Israël
Winaray: Israel
Wolof: Israayil
吴语: 以色列
ייִדיש: ישראל
Yorùbá: Ísráẹ́lì
粵語: 以色列
Zazaki: İsrail
Zeêuws: Israël
žemaitėška: Izraelis
中文: 以色列
डोटेली: इजरायल
ГӀалгӀай: Жугтече
Kabɩyɛ: Izrɛɛlɩ
Lingua Franca Nova: Israel