Looking back, looking forward: The 2018 Israel Festival

This year, in honor of Israel’s 70th, we specifically turn our attention to the individual, personal identity, definitions and barriers.

By EYAL SHER
May 16, 2018 10:15
4 minute read.
Israeli flag

Israeli flag. (photo credit: REUTERS)

I SHAKE the dust off the program catalogue of the first Israel Music Festival, as the Israel Festival was called back in 1961, and I read the preface of the organizers, then the Government Tourist Corporation and the Festival Committee: “With this event Israel joins that family of cultured nations who, through this Festival, have enriched their own musical life and have through the medium of music, made a priceless contribution towards the strengthening of relationships between nation and nation.”

Jump cut to my own preface to the 57th Israel Festival in 2018: “The program presents art that is in search of its own expression and independence in the face of the present zeitgeist in which we live: the ever exacerbating social and economic divide, national extremism and terror, the erosion of fundamental democratic values and of artistic freedom of expression…” Some 57 years and hundreds of outstanding performances later, we have moved from holding a festival to join the family of cultured nations, to holding a festival to uphold the values these nations embody.

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