China celebrates ties with Israel at Festival Three days before the start of the Israel Festival on May 24, 60 percent of the tickets have been sold, with some shows completely sold out. Other shows added performances, such as the Spanish dance troupe Los Vivancos. At Sunday's press conference Israel Festival board chairman Dan Halperin paid tribute to the governments of the 17 participating nations, many of which directly subsidized the performance of their various artists. Chief among these is China whose spectacle "Heroes" by the Wuhan Acrobatic Troupe officially opens the festival on May 26.
Zhang Xiaoan, charg d'affaires at the embassy of China, mentioned that a high level Chinese delegation would be present. "Heroes" is the opening salvo of a countrywide Chinese Festival of Culture that will last through November, the first of its kind in Israel. The festival celebrates 15 years of diplomatic relations between China and Israel. "Cultural exchanges such as these are the best way to bring our cultures together," Zhang said.
Arts and Culture Authority head Micha Yinon, whose office provided NIS 4 million of the close to NIS 11m. budget, said that cultural relations between Israel and China are a long-term project of which the current Israel festival event is only the spearhead. He also praised the number and quality of this year's local contributions.
Festival general manager Yossi Talgan said that the participation of artists from so many nations "breaks both geographical and cultural barriers." He also said that in light of the shelling of Sderot, Philip Morris and other corporate entities will donate funds to bring residents to the Chinese circus. - Helen Kaye
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