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August 6, 2021

Tania Berg-Rafaeli, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the State of Israel to Romania: Israel, a melting pot of cultures

To sum up 70 years of Israel in just a few words might prove quite a challenge, particularly when talking about culture.

After all, the State of Israel is a melting pot of identities and influences: Jewish, Arab, Christian, Druze, Baha’i, Bedouin; European, Russian, Yemenite, Latin, Ethiopian and the list goes on. While it may seem like plenty of hustle and bustle, it is precisely that energy and vibrant, diverse spirit that fuels our nation.

Needless to say, everyone has put his or her own footprint on what we call modern Israel. You can have Moroccan food in a restaurant, French macarons in another and traditional East-European Jewish pastry next door. But it is not only on a plate that these particularities mix, it is in everyday life and, more palpably, in every artistic expression.

Take for example Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC), who will perform in June at SibFest. Dancers from all over the world, based atop the hills of the Western Galilee, living in a kibbutz and showcasing in Romania. It is a known fact that Israelis love contemporary dance, one of its most popular and developed art forms. It should therefore come as no surprise that, in the fall, another dance company, Kamea, will perform in Romania, this time in Cluj-Napoca, at STEPS Festival.

Israelis also love their jazz, adorned with exotic beats from different corners of the world, but what they also love is to share it with others. At the Sibiu Jazz Festival, in May, in Cluj-Napoca, at Jazz in the Park, as well in Bucharest, at Green Hours or Club Control, Romanian audiences will be able to enjoy the bass, the drums and trumpets of Israeli trios.

As the people of the book, we never miss a chance to pay homage to our writers. Israel was invited for the second time to take part in Bookfest, in order to celebrate 70 years of Israel and 7 decades of undisrupted diplomatic relations with Romania. Another exciting piece of information is that several Israeli authors (Eshkol Nevo, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen and Etgar Keret) have been published this year in Romanian!

Art lovers should know that a new collaboration with MNAC has materialized into an exhibition by Yael Efrati, available to the public at the Museum until the end of June.

Cinema lovers must be aware that Israel is the focus country of Bucharest International Film Festival 2018 (BIFF), meaning that a wide choice of Israeli movies will be screened in venues across Bucharest. But fans of TIFF (Cluj) should also not worry, since a significant Israeli presence is also announced for this year’s edition.

We have just offered you here selected glimpses, and not an exhaustive list, inside the brilliant cultural relation between our two countries. Of course, homage must be paid to the wonderful Romanian cultural managers, directors of festivals and institutions for building such excellent bridges with our Israeli artists along all these great 70 years.

There is so much more to discover, hence we invite you all to come and taste from the flavors of Israeli artistic expression by coming to the performance halls, as well as by following us on our social media channels: @IsraelinRomania.


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