The 55th edition of the Israel Festival will take place May 24 to June 11. The program was unveiled and tickets went on sale on April 11.The festival originally began in 1961 as a festival of classical music, and over the years it grew into a multidisciplinary event.Today, it hosts dance, theater, music and art performances. The goal of the festival is described on the official website as “enriching the cultural landscape of Jerusalem and Israel, encouraging international cultural relationships, and promoting discourse on art.”Up until the 1980s, the festival, financed mainly by institutional funds, stood out in Israel as one of the main importers of international culture. In July 1983, however, the now-defunct newspaper Davar described a situation in which other private and institutional bodies were also bringing shows to Israel throughout the year: “The main difficulty [of the Israel Festival] and benefit for the consumers of culture is that a yearlong festival is taking place, unofficial, and unsponsored by national agencies.”Unlike the Israel Festival, these shows were based mainly on self-generated income, namely commercial sponsorships and ticket selling.According to the report “Festivals in Israel, 2011” by the culture administration of the Culture and Sport Ministry, the Israel Festival was the longest in Israel: it lasted 27 days, hosted 66 productions, and was the second largest in terms of number of productions and of Israeli shows specially produced for it. The number of paying visitors reached 28,600, which was second only to the dance festival in Karmiel, visited by over 53,000 paying visitors.A look at the Israel Festival programs since 2007 reveals that visiting (international) productions form approximately 55 percent of the hosted acts, and 35% to 70% of the running shows (see graph). At the most recent festival (2015), international shows formed 59% of the hosted acts, and 69% of the running shows. Budget reports of the last seven years show that the self-generated income covers approximately one-third of the festival’s budget, and number of tickets sold is around 40,000. The year 2014 was an exception, with 59,000 tickets sold. To conclude, the Israel Festival is not the single actor in the arena of culture imports to Israel; as such, its task is not only to maintain high standards of both local and international acts, but also to include an exceptionally large volume of work.