With a calendar filled with religious, cultural and sporty events year-round, Israel has a fantastic range of options to keep visitors’ diary jam-packed.
An awe-inspiring celebration, Birkat Kohanim sees ten of thousands of people gathering at the Kotel (Western Wall) to witness the priestly blessing. Jewish men belonging to the Kohanim tribe cover their head with their prayer shawl (tallit) and bless the crowd with a millenia old prayer during the morning prayer.
When: During the festival of Passover ,usually late March or mid April. This year: 22 of April 2019
A favourite with runners, this 10km race takes place at nighttime to offer its 25,000 participants a different view of Tel Aviv. Open to anyone over 14 who can present a doctor’s note attesting their fitness levels, the race departs from Rabin Square, the city’s hub for all major events, and closes with a celebratory finish line festival at Ganei Yehoshua.
Where: Tel Aviv.
When: November 2019 / Exact dates to be published
Set in the green and relaxing Galilee region, this annual celebration of Israeli gastronomy will appeal to foodies. The week-long event features workshops, special events hosted by restaurants in the area, as well as a focus on specific local produce.
Where: Different locations in the Galilee and the Jordan Valley.
When: 25-27 of December 2018
A wonderful way to celebrate Christmas is to spend the evening of the birth of Jesus in the very city where he was born. Before watching the midnight mass or inside the church or on a giant screen on Manger’s Square, you’ll have the chance to visit Bethlehem's key site related to Jesus’ birth, the Church of the Nativity.
When: 24 December 2018
Not one just for jazz aficionados, this well established festival taking place in the south of Israel also welcomes world music (from the Balkans to Cuba), Middle Eastern sounds, and pop music. Around 35 events are held with the magnificent backdrop of the Red Sea in Eilat. A great feature of this festival, happening in winter and summer, is the free jam sessions.
Where: Eilat, different venues.
When: 14-16 of February 2019
[International Jerusalem Winner Marathon]One of Israel's largest marathons, attracting some 30,000 runners opting for a marathon, half-marathon, 10km, 5km, 1.7km or 800m race, the event is open to elite runners as well as enthusiastic amateurs.
The route takes in some of the most impressive landmarks in the Israeli capital including Machane Yehuda Jerusalem market, the Tower of David Old City walls, and also Mount Scopus.
When: 15 of March 2019
Dubbed “the city that never sleeps” Tel Aviv lives up to its vibrant reputation during “Laila Lavan”, an event where music is played all night long around the city.
The main concerts are held at Bialik Square, Shuk HaCarmel, Rothschild Boulevard, and Kikar Rabin while parties and gigs can be found at many bars and clubs in Tel Aviv and Jaffa.
Where: Tel Aviv
When: 16 of May 2019
Inspired by the legendary Nevada desert event in the US, the Midburn event is the opportunity for its participants to let their creativity loose through interactive art, performances, and self-expression.
Don’t expect the traditional festival set-up with stages and music but rather a giant camping site in the Negev and a colourful, joyful and free-spirited vibe.
Where: Sde Boker
When: May 2019 / Exact dates to be published
Stunning displays of artwork, statues, and installations using light as a medium and the impressive background of the Old City’s walls delight visitors to Jerusalem when night falls.
Attracting a crowd of around 250,000 over 10 days, the event’s creations are by artists from Israel and from abroad.
When: July 2019 / Exact dates to be published
Set in the atmospheric old city of Safed, this three days open air festival celebrates the melancholic, soulful, and also joyful music from Eastern Europe.
Klezmer resonates in the alleyways hosting artists’ galleries while workshops are organised for children around the themes of storytelling and, of course, music.
When: August 2019 / Exact dates to be published
Words: Sonia Esther Soltani