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10 Events and Festivals Not to Be Missed This Summer in Israel

From the Jerusalem Festival to the Maccabiah Games, the summer of 2017 in Israel is chockful of activities and festivals for all ages and interests.

By Abigail Klein Leichman

Opera, jazz, puppetry, sports, crafts, books, avant-garde theater: All that and much more is planned as spring slides into summer in Israel. If you’re planning a visit between June and August, consider putting some of these 10 events on your itinerary. Always confirm dates ahead of time in case of changes.

Jerusalem Design Week, June 8-15

Seven days of exhibitions, concerts, conceptual installations, workshops, and events at the Hansen House, Jerusalem Theater, Museum of Islamic Art and other venues in the Talbieh neighborhood are organized by the Design Center of Jerusalem to showcase cutting-edge designers from Israel and abroad.

A scene from Jerusalem Design Week 2016. Photo by Dor Kedmi

The International Book Fair at The First Station hosts about 250 publishers from Israel and around the world. The fair includes literary events such as readings, book signings, story hours for children, poetry readings and more.

Jerusalem Opera Festival, June 21-22

This year’s Jerusalem Opera Festival at Sultan’s Pool will feature a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco” accompanied by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

Jerusalem International Light Festival, June 28 to July 6

The ninth annual International Festival of Light invites participants (for free) to walk along illuminated trails in Jerusalem’s Old City to see light-inspired innovative installations, huge video projections, performance pieces, works of art and original fixtures for sale from Israel and abroad.

Maccabiah Games, July 4-18

The Maccabiah, (“the Jewish Olympics”) the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition, takes place every four years in Israel. The 20th Maccabiah this summer will be the biggest ever, encompassing about 10,000 athletes and 22,000 fans from more than 80 countries. The opening ceremony will take place in Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium and the competitive matches (Open, Junior, Masters and Paralympics) will be held in several cities. This year’s presenter is Olympic judoka Yarden Gerbi.

The Ukraine delegation to the 19th Maccabiah Games, July 2013. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90
Akko Opera Festival, August 3 and 5

Handel’s “Giulio Cesare in Egitto,” accompanied by the Israel Camerata Jerusalem Orchestra, will be performed for the Acre (Akko) Opera Festival in the ancient Crusaders Court of Old Acre on Israel’s northern Mediterranean coast.

The International Puppet Festival sponsored by Jerusalem’s Train Theater is celebrating its 26th edition with Israeli and international performances for children and adults, from contemporary and traditional puppet theater to object and character theater. Shows take place in the Train Theater, Liberty Bell Park, Yemin Moshe, Khan Theater and The First Station.

International Arts and Crafts Fair (Hutzot Hayotzer), August 15-27

This annual outdoor festival has been held for 41 years at Hutzot Hayotzer, the Jerusalem Arts and Crafts art amphitheater near the walls of the Old City. Hundreds of crafters and artisans from Israel, Europe and Africa display their wares. Concerts held in conjunction with the festival take place nightly at Sultan’s Pool nearby. Open every evening (except Fridays) between 6 and 11pm; Saturday from 9 to midnight.

Safed International Klezmer Festival, August 22-24

Now in its 32nd year, the Safed International Klezmer Festival features open-air stages set up around the parks and public squares of the Old Jewish Quarter and Artists Quarter of Safed (Tzfat) in the Upper Galilee. Musical tours, children’s activities, and master classes will be on offer during the festival.

Klezmer takes over the alleyways of Safed every August. Photo by FLASH90

The picturesque Eilat Port is the site of four days of jazz performances, workshops and late-night jam sessions covering everything from classic to voodoo jazz.


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