Israel Culture

Israel Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Israel

According to ARISTMARKETING.COM, Israel is a country located in Asia. Hebrew newspapers began to be published in Jerusalem during the latter part of the 19th century. Most significant of these became the independent ha-Tzevi, founded in 1884 and daily from 1909. In the early 1900s, party magazines were established; the most prominent was the labor movement ha-Poel ha-Tzair, founded in 1907. During the First World War all newspaper publishing ceased. Today’s newspapers – a total of about 30 of which about half are in languages other than Hebrew, e.g. Yiddish, Arabic, French, Polish and German – were then founded. Most are published in Tel Aviv and are nationwide. Daily newspaper distribution is high (290 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 residents, 2000).

The 1990s daily press can be divided into three groups: a) independent newspapers such as ha-Aretz (1918), Hungarian-speaking Uj Kelet (1918) and the English Jerusalem Post (1932), owned by the Canadian Conrad Black and with an international print in the USA weekly circulation; b) party newspapers such as the national organization Davar (1925), the national religious party ha-Tzofe (1937) and the al-Hamishmar labor party (1943); c) popular afternoon newspapers such as Yediot Aharonot (1939) and Maariv (1947), which are the country’s two largest with 300,000 and 160,000 copies respectively. in circulation. In East Jerusalem, Palestinian newspapers such as Al-Fajr (1980) are controlled by the censor, and several PLO-affiliated newspapers have been closed by the authorities, including al-Mithaq 1986.

Radio and television are state-run and operated by the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA, founded in 1948). Radio broadcasting began in 1936 in Jerusalem, and a military radio channel for easy entertainment and military information (Gale Tzahal) was launched in 1951 in Tel Aviv. Television was introduced in 1966, but for educational purposes only; public television came in 1968. Private radio and television were allowed in 1986. There are 526 radio and 335 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ANIMALERTS, Israel has strong cultural traditions in most arts, not least the music and literature. One of the terms for renewal is at the same time the modern Hebrew, which has been created within the framework of state building.

Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888-1970) received the 1966 Nobel Prize for authorship that was based on the revival of Hebrew, which had long been used solely as a liturgical language (see Population and Language. In popular music, the state has encouraged songs in modern Hebrew, often with patriotic themes.

For Swedish audiences, Amos Oz (1939–2018) is probably the most well-known author. He was also a debater and known from the peace movement. About twenty books have been translated into Swedish, among them the childhood depiction of Panther in the basement, the family chronicle A story of love and darkness and How to cure a fanatic, and he has been awarded the Stig Dagerman Prize. Both Oz and David Grossman, internationally award-winning for A Horse Goes into a Bar, were among the cultural personalities who protested against the new nationality law the Israeli Parliament adopted in 2018. Among younger writers can be mentioned Assaf Gavron, award-winning for Up High, a satirically posted book which takes place in a settlement on the West Bank.

Yoram Kaniuk (1930–2013) was translated into many languages. He participated in the war in 1948 but over time was disappointed with how the state developed. It arose when he went to court to change the name of his ID card from “Jewish” to “non-religious”, and won. Several of Kaniuk’s stories have been filmed.

Arabic-language writers such as Emile Habibi (1922-1996) often deal with Palestinian experiences. One of Habibi’s successors, Sayed Kashua, writes in Hebrew – his debut novel is about being Arab in Israel. Mahmoud Darwish (1941–2008), the author of a declaration of Palestinian independence, is considered a Palestinian national poet.

Like literature, film in Israel often addresses the difficult experiences of turbulent political events. In 2017, Foxtrot by Samuel Maoz received a silver lion at the Venice Film Festival. The film is about a parent couple who find out that their son has fallen. Waltz with Bashir is an internationally acclaimed animated war documentary that dates back to the author Ari Folman’s experience of Israel’s war in Lebanon in 1982.

Most films are made in Hebrew, but English and Arabic are also used as movie languages. The Israeli-Arab episode Ajam in from 2009 received the country’s finest film award Ophir Prize.

Mixed musical tradition

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in the 1930s and got its current name since the state was proclaimed in 1948. Western classical music has a strong position and there are several symphony orchestras. One problematic issue is the performance of Richard Wagner’s music, which is avoided because of the composer’s anti-Semitism, which is well-coated.

Liturgical music, worship music, has been preserved over the centuries.

The folk music traditions are numerous because Jews have immigrated from different parts of the world. From Eastern Europe came klezmer. In the past, Oriental Jews’ folk music had a bit of underdog status compared to ideals that came with Ashkenazi immigrants from Europe, but that has changed. Two singers have become particularly well known: Ofra Haza (1957–2000), with Yemeni family background, achieved international fame with traditional song choices and contemporary arrangements. Yasmin Levy has Spanish-Jewish family history. During her upbringing, a form of Spanish that was preserved by families was encouraged ever since Jews were expelled from Spain over 500 years ago. She also prefers to perform other songs in Spanish tradition. Levy received the Anna Lindh Prize as a cultural bridge builder in 2006.

The Bustan Abraham group (“Abraham’s Garden”) brought together Jewish and Arab musicians to mainly instrumental recordings and concerts until a few years after the turn of the millennium. The music – performed on, among others, the string instrument qanun, oud (lute) and darbuka (hand drum) – gave room for many styles and traditions, including Turkish and Arabic folk music.

From Nazareth come the three brothers Adnan, Samir and Wisam Joubran who play leaning in group and have an international career under the name Le Trio Joubran. They play traditional Palestinian music.

Initially, Israel officially abided by new trends such as pop and rock. The Beatles were not allowed to perform in the country in the 1960s. Since then, many Israelis have embraced modern living. Eurovision Song Contest has an enthusiastic audience, with Israeli victories in the 1978, 1979 and 1998 and 2018 competitions. But popular music also includes names like David Broza, a Spanish-influenced Israeli response to Bruce Springsteen.

In addition to well-known older buildings such as the Masada rock fortress and temples connected to various religions, modern architecture is also lauded: In Tel Aviv, a large number of functionalist-style buildings were built by Jewish architects who left Nazi Germany in 1930s for the then British mandate. Palestine. The district, which is called “the white city”, testifies to the influence of the Bauhaus school and is classified as a World Heritage site by the UN organization Unesco.

In architecture and design, Israel has a well-known name in London-based Ron Arad.



Continued attacks on Jews

Also in December, a series of attacks against Jews from the Palestinian side occur, and many attacking Palestinians are shot dead in connection with the attacks. As the month draws to a close, 20 Jews and 137 Palestinians are estimated to have been killed since the beginning of Okbois when the unrest arose.

The former prime minister’s penalty is reduced

The Supreme Court reduces the verdict against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from six years to 18 months in prison. Olmert was sentenced in March 2014 for bribery (see March and May 2014).


Daily attacks / shooting deaths

Almost daily throughout November, attacks on Jews and the shooting of Palestinian attackers occur. At the end of the month, the AFP news agency reports that the unrest that erupted in early October has so far claimed 120 lives. Seventeen of the victims are Jews. Almost all the rest are Palestinians.

The ultra-Orthodox exemption from military service is extended

Parliament adopts a law that extends ultra-Orthodox exemptions from military service; Thus, the law that was passed in March 2014 and which would gradually force ultra-Orthodox Jews to do military service is overplayed. The new law extends the exemption by six years and adds a three-year transition period (see also March 2014 and Current Policy).

Two are convicted of murder of Palestinian teenager

A court finds two underage Israelis guilty of kidnapping and burning a Palestinian teenager alive in the summer of 2014 (see July 2014). The main suspect behind the deed, a 31-year-old settler, cannot be convicted as his defender claims he was not sufficient and must undergo a psychiatric examination.

Israel has used excessive force, says UN experts

UN experts say Israel has used excessive force to curb the unrest of recent months. According to the experts, Israel may have been guilty of extra-judicial executions in trying to prevent Palestinians from attacking Israel or in clashes between security forces and revolting Palestinians.

The activities of the Islamic movement are banned

The government bans the Islamic movement’s activities in northern Israel. The Islamic Movement is a religious organization that carries out social work among Arabs in Israel. The movement’s department in southern Israel has representatives in parliament, while the northern department is more harsh and boycott Israeli institutions. The Government is accusing the Northern Department of cooperating with Hamas and of upstaging the West Bank. The decision also gives the government the right to seize the assets. The ban on the Islamic movement is causing protests among Arabs in northern Israel at the end of the month.

The EU adopts new guidelines on goods from occupied areas

The EU adopts guidelines saying that goods from Israeli settlements in occupied areas must be origin-marked if they are to be sold in the EU. The decision is condemned by Israel in very powerful terms. Netanyahu draws a parallel to the Nazis’ boycott of Jewish companies, and breaks all contacts with the EU on the Palestinian issue. Palestinian PLO welcomes EU decision but says it is not enough. Ideally, the Palestinians would like to see the EU banned all products from the settlements.

Netanyahu meets Barack Obama

Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with US President Barack Obama in Washington. The parties are trying to cover their contradictions about Iran, and Netanyahu assures Obama that he still wants peace with the Palestinians based on a two-state solution (see March 2015).

Two radio stations are shut down by security forces

Israeli security forces storm and shut down Palestinian radio station al-Hurria in Hebron. The station is accused of glorifying assaults on Israelis. Later in the month, another radio station on the West Bank will be closed. The station, al-Khalil, is accused of encouraging terror.

Teams against stone throwing are adopted

The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, is adopting a major law that sets the penalty for stone throwing against vehicles and pedestrians for at least three years in prison. Mild punishments should only be possible in exceptional cases.


Israeli combat air strikes targets in Gaza

After launching some missiles at southern Israel, Israeli aircraft strike targets in Gaza. A woman and her little daughter are said to have lost their lives in the attacks.

Concerns are spreading – more are being killed

A few days after the murder of a settler couple on the West Bank, two ultra-Orthodox Jews are killed by a Palestinian in a knife attack in an alley in Jerusalem. After the murders, the authorities temporarily shut down the old city of Jerusalem to Palestinians with the exception of those living there, students and business owners. Prime Minister Netanyahu bans MPs from visiting Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.
During October, the unrest spreads on the West Bank and also to Arab villages inside Israel. Palestinian teenagers are shot to death in clashes with police. More knife attacks against Israelis follow. Assaults occur almost daily. In October, more than 80 people were killed. Of these, ten Israelis and the rest are Palestinians. Israel is trying to strengthen security by deploying hundreds of soldiers in strategic locations. Several Arab areas in East Jerusalem are blocked off and residents are forced to undergo security checks to get in and out.

Settler couple are shot to death

A settler couple is shot to death on the West Bank when traveling by car with their four young children. Israel responds by letting security forces search the area around the city of Nablus in search of suspected perpetrators and at least eight people arrested. The soldiers are met by stone-throwing youth and a number of people are injured in the clashes that occur. Five Hamas men arrested, suspected of murder.


Increased tensions at Temple Mount

The tension at Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif in eastern Jerusalem rises again after Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon banned two Muslim groups accused of confronting Jews who wanted to visit the site. Yaalon states that these groups are the main cause of the recurring tension and violence on Temple Mount, which is a sacred place for both Jews and Muslims. The following week, Israeli police and Palestinian youths meet in the area. Police claim the youths attacked Jews who wanted to visit Temple Mount in connection with the Jewish New Year. The police fire tear gas grenades at the youths who throw stones and shoot fireworks at the police. Several people are reported to have been injured. Unrest at Temple Mount occurs on and off throughout the month.


Two Israelis are arrested in connection with an arson attack

In connection with the assassination fire on the West Bank (see July 2015), two men are imprisoned by a so-called administrative decree, which allows the authorities to keep detainees detained for six months without prosecution and to renew this period as many times as possible. It is unusual for this form of detention to be used in the case of Jews. Usually, Palestinians are kept in this way indefinitely.


18-month-old Palestinian boy is killed in arson

An 18-month-old Palestinian boy is killed in an arson attack in a village on the West Bank. The other family members – the father, the mother and a big brother – survive the attack, but the father and the mother later die from their injuries. Perpetrators suspected of being Jewish settlers have written the Hebrew word for “revenge” on a house wall in connection with the attack. Prime Minister Netanyahu calls the assassination a terrorist act and promises to do everything in his power to find the guilty. A clap hunting for Jewish extremists on the West Bank begins.

Ultra Orthodox Jewish man in knife attack against Pride festival

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stabs six participants in the parade during the Pride festival in Jerusalem. Two of the cutters are seriously injured. The perpetrator had been released from prison three weeks earlier, where he served a multi-year sentence for committing the same crime during the Pride festival in Jerusalem in 2005. Israeli President Rivlin condemns the attacks as a “heinous hate crime”.

Ready sign for 300 new homes

Prime Minister Netanyahu gives the go-ahead for the construction of 300 new homes in the Jewish settlement of Beit El on the West Bank. He also announces plans to build 500 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem.

Tighter legislation against stone throwing

The knesset tightens the legislation against stone throwing. Anyone who throws a stone at a vehicle owned by a private person or authority risks up to 20 years in prison. The bill is presented by the settler-friendly right-wing Jewish home. The decision is met by protests from the Arab members of the Knesset.

Israel is fired by a Sinai missile

Israel is shot by a missile fired from the Sinai desert in Egypt. An Egyptian Islamist group affiliated with the Islamic State claims to be behind the attack. An Israeli military source confirms that the missile was fired from Sinai. Tighter legislation against stone throwing


UN report indicates war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war

A UN report shows that war crimes may have been committed by both Israeli military and Palestinian fighting groups during the Gaza war in July and August 2014. The report was made by a special commission of inquiry commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council. According to the report, 1462 civilian Palestinians were killed, including 551 children. Six civilian Israelis lost their lives in connection with thousands of Palestinian missile attacks against Israel.

Israeli fighter jet to attack Hamas

Israeli fighter aircraft attacks Hamas stronghold in Gaza one day after launching rockets from Gaza into Israel. A radical salafist group takes on the blame for the rocket attacks, according to Haaretz magazine.


Government is formed

After seven weeks of negotiations, Netanyahu and Likud form government with the new center-right party Kulanu, the settler party Beit Yehudi and the ultra-Orthodox Shas and the United Torah Party. The coalition brings together 61 members and thus has only one vote overweight in the kness.

Claws – Over 50 people are injured

Over 50 people are injured in crowds following a protest demonstration in Tel Aviv. The manifestation is being conducted by Israelis of Ethiopian origin in protest against the discrimination they consider themselves vulnerable. The protesters claim that they have a harder time getting, for example, jobs or housing contracts because they are black. The demonstration is preceded by a young black soldier being beaten by two police officers. The incident that is being filmed and posted online is called shocking by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who promises power against racism.


The White House warns Israel

Netanyahu’s statement that he wants to stop the two-state solution gets the White House to warn that the United States may need to reconsider its stance on Israel in the UN. The US usually vetoes resolutions that criticize Israel. In an obvious attempt to appease Washington, Netanyahu says after the election that he did not really change his mind about the two-state solution but that it is the reality that has changed so that such a solution is currently not possible.

Victory for Netanyahu

The election will be a superior victory for Netanyahu. Despite the fact that opinion polls just before the election placed Likud behind the Zionist Union, the party wins 30 seats against 24 for the competitor. Likud steals, among other things, votes from the settler party Jewish home. Even the center party Yesh Atid, who debuted in the 2013 elections and then became the second largest party, is going backwards. For the first time, the Arab parties are in third place before the newcomer Kulanu, who turns four. Nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu collapses and becomes the smallest party of the Kness along with the religious Torah Party.

Netanyahu distances from two-state solution

In a final statement before the election, Netanyahu states that any Palestinian state will not become a reality if he is to rule the country. This is a clear departure from Netanyahu’s position in 2009 when he stated that he supported a two-state solution under certain conditions (see June 2009). Netanyahu claims that conditions have now changed and that land left to the Palestinians risks being occupied by radical Islamists. He also promises that he will increase the expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem so that it becomes impossible in future to divide the city, which the Palestinians want to make into their capital.

Anger after the statement by Yisrael Beiteinu’s leader

Yisrael Beiteinu’s leader Avigdor Lieberman provokes anger by saying that Israeli Arabs who are not loyal to the state of Israel should be beheaded.

Netanyahu is criticized for visits to Washington

Netanyahu goes to Washington, invited by Republicans to speak at the US Congress about the threat from Iran. The invitation has not been reconciled with the White House and President Obama is highlighting his displeasure by refusing to meet Netanyahu. In Israel, Netanyahu is criticized for putting pressure on important relations with the United States. Netanyahu’s election campaigns on security policy, while the Zionist Union and other parties in the middle, focus on economic and social issues, not least prices that make it almost impossible for young people to buy their own homes.

PLO ends security cooperation with Israel

In March, the PLO decides to end security cooperation with Israel, which is part of the peace agreement of 1993. The cooperation has included, among other things, that Israel and the Palestinian authorities shared information about militant groups. The decision is made in protest of Israel withholding customs and VAT revenue (see December 2014).


Setback for Netanyahu before the election

One month before the election, the Israel Audit Office publishes a report that states that Netanyahu has used “excessive” much of the state’s resources for food, furniture and gardening, both in the government’s official residence and in his private home. Netanyahu promises to abide by the rules and believes that the opposition is behind the charges in order to lower him before the election.

In the past, Netanyahu’s wife has been in blustery weather when it was revealed that in her own pocket she stopped thousands of kronor that brought in bottles from public events.

HD decides to demolish 9 homes in Israeli settlement

The Supreme Court decides that nine homes in an Israeli settlement on the West Bank should be demolished as they are built on private Palestinian land. As a result, five Palestinian landowners win the process that started already in 2008. The settlers are given two years to evacuate the houses before they are destroyed.


The US and the EU condemn 450 new homes on the West Bank

The US and the EU condemn Israel’s plans to start a tender process for the construction of 450 housing for Jewish settlers on the West Bank.

19-year-old is shot to death on the West Bank

A 19-year-old is shot to death by Israeli forces on the West Bank. The 19-year-old and a friend are reported to have attacked the Israelis with fire bombs. The companion must have been shot.

A record number of Palestinian homes were demolished in 2014

The UN humanitarian coordination body OCHA states that in 2014, Israel demolished a record number of homes belonging to Palestinian families. According to OCHA, 590 objects were destroyed in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, leaving nearly 1,200 people homeless, more than half of whom were children. Israel states as a reason that the buildings were erected without building permits. Palestinians and human rights groups condemn the demolitions and claim that Palestinians are routinely refused building permits and therefore forced to leave their homes without permission.

Seven IS sympathizers are prosecuted

Seven Israeli Arabs are accused of trying to form a local group of the extreme Sunni Islamist movement Islamic State, which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and has made itself known for extremely brutal acts of violence.

ICC launches investigation into Israeli war crimes

The International Criminal Court ICC initiates an initial investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians during the summer war in Gaza (see July and August 2014). Israel calls the investigation “outrageous”.

Hezbollah men are killed in robot attack

Israel is reported to have killed five commanders in the Lebanese Hezbollah-milis in an attack on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. A number of Iranians have also been killed in the attack on a vehicle column. According to Israel, they had planned attacks on targets in Israel. The incident is the first direct military confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah since the war in the summer of 2006. However, during the ongoing Syrian war, Israel has attacked arms transports on Syrian land suspected of being Hezbollah. The movement now promises a painful revenge. Just over a week later, two Israeli soldiers are killed and seven injured when their vehicles are fired by Hezbollah. The attack is aimed at a troop transport in the disputed Sheba area on the Lebanon-Israel border. Israel responds with air strikes and artillery fire to targets in Lebanon. During the fire, a Spanish UN soldier is also killed.

Palestinians convicted in military court

A military court sentenced a Palestinian from Hebron to three life sentences for the summer murders of three Israeli youths, which eventually led to war between Israel and Gaza. Two other Palestinians suspected of being involved in the murders were shot dead when Israeli soldiers tried to arrest them in September.

Palestine’s ICC application is approved

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon accepts the State of Palestine’s application to the ICC and announces that the Palestinians will join on April 1 (see also December 2014).

Israel Culture

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