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
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.
Latest population statistics of Israel, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
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
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Israel. Artists and albums are also included.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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