Category Archives: Pop Music

The Tour from Hell

This tour was the tour from hell … for me. For the group absolutely not, because they had loads of fun, costing me my hair of course. We are talking about a tour, which shows what Israel actually is, a mixture of culture, adventure, exploration and Israeli sights in all the major touristic centers of Israel. This article is part of the Tour Guide Diaries September 2016.

I’m working on whole range of new tours, like the so called low-budget tours and the tours, which mixes several things together in a more exciting tour then currently exists, and this tour is one of them (for example, we go on concert in the evening, visit festivals, workshops, join even a work camp to dig into the ground with the archeologists, visit the sights, do a little gem-touring, etc.). We were out for 12 days, our group was 50 (originally 30) strong from all over the United States, ages were between 17 and 63, and the group arrived at the airport 13 days ago (from the date of publishing)(so I’m recovering already for three days).

Welcome to Israel from the Ben Gurion Airport
Welcome to Israel from the Ben Gurion Airport

We went to the airport in a very good mood, I had my junior guides with me (Igor and Lena or together “the Juniors”), our new bus and the driver with the nickname “the Beast” (he’s small and overly polite and never shows any emotion, so his nickname is “the Beast” and his real name is Eddie) to pickup our new group for our new mixture tours.

One thing about nicknames! I really didn’t gave them their nicknames. I’ve no nickname … except ‘the Sheik’, because of some small misunderstanding last August, where some Bedouin men on the goat market of Be’er Sheba were advising me to take ten women as wives to drink coffee with me, but nobody remembers that, thank goodness for that.

I double checked my nice, sign-board (so people know it’s us) I was holding with our names on it to welcome our group. I really don’t want to repeat that prank from the last time where the driver changed the text into “Here’s the Idiot” or something like that. The board covered our names nicely.

When the people started to stream out of the checkout I held up my board and voila! People noticed and streamed to us with smiles on their faces. I spoke before their flight with them in a conference call over the Internet and I’m happy they were in such a good mood.

Hi Sheik! How are you?!” one yelled cheekily with a big grin on his face (someone has been talking)! And soon we were almost overwhelmed with the thirty people … and some … more? We moved our group from the hall to let them drink something and have maybe a bite to eat, but I realized that the group was much larger then 30! I was already upset about the Sheik thing and now this. Maybe some people they met during their flight? The Juniors were already suspiciously grinning.

It turned out that at the last moment they found more people who wanted to join this tour, but ‘forgot’ to tell me. So, suddenly instead of 30 people, we have now 45 people! And not to forget the payments. And the reservations. And the bus! And my heart! And what’s left of my hair! And not to forget my blood pressure.

You know, I’m just 56 years old and I’m old man and it’s really in those times that I’m thinking about going on pension. Maybe a pension on an island somewhere with nobody else then my wife. Well … when my wife comes with me, then she wants her cats also to come with us. And her aquarium with those bl**dy fish too. And the kids too and they have dogs.

I suddenly realize that we have a problem. The hotel reservation with our hotel is in Jerusalem and I know that they have no additional place; they are booked full (they had place for us of course, but with 30 people, not 45). One of my Juniors grabbed my hand, which was busy to pull out my hair (not joking). While the group was amusing themselves, five more people came in to join the group (they said ‘sorry, we’re late’, carrying large boxes with toys they bought at Duty Free). That’s 50!

I called a colleague, who must find us a hotel in or near Jerusalem, who can place a group of 53 people that same day. In high season! I quickly broke the connection with the swearing colleague (he’s called ‘The Pipe’, because he smokes … guess what? Correct, large cigars).

Feeling better, I processed the extra people, gave a pep talk to the Juniors and moved the army … eh … group to the Beast (to our bus). The poor man’s face lit up when he saw us coming. When the people started to enter his bus, slowly his expression turned from happy into confused … then shocked and was trying to find me … only I was at a safe distance looking at the scene and waiting for the expected eruption of ‘the beast’ soon to be … erupting.

‘The Beast’ came out of his bus and walked straight at me. I pointed at the Juniors with my thumb and blamed them for the problem of overcrowding his new and shiny bus. Before the juniors could react and recover from the shock, I was already moving quickly into the bus to tackle the next problem. That’s called strategical thinking. I don’t remember who advised something like that, but what I do remember was the advise “… never admit you’re wrong, always blame the one next to you …”. It never works with my wife though.

So in the bus, I started to bring the problem in front of our group. They came up right before they left to Israel with an additional 20 people for the group without telling us and we have only reservations for 30 people and the hotel is booked full. There will be no chance in hell that we would find another hotel for 50 people  within a couple of hours, then maybe a beach … but no beach in Jerusalem. And not to forget the damage for the hotel if we cancel at the last moment, the money would not be returned and the tour would be more expensive for all of us.

So the group decided that they would room together for this night. Not that they cared, because it was a rowdy group, who would be visiting a pop-concert that night after dinner in the old city and I saw already several girls checking out several gents. I felt my blood pressure going up when I also saw the expression of several of the people of this group who were already grinning mischievously.

During our talk, my disgruntled Juniors were already in the bus and my driver in his place. When he started the motor, I could hear how upset he was. The bus is exactly for 53 people and we always have a golden rule to have a larger bus then we there are people in the group. Well, technically we still have (three reserve places), but it was not ideal. They will suffer during the tour.

While we were on our way to Jerusalem, I got a phone call with a swearing Pipe (the guide my age checking out hotels) and he said he moved the reservations to another hotel the days after for 52 people and claimed that I could sleep outside and hung up. Funny boy. Oof. Two things down. Now a bigger bus and that would be even perfect. So instead of chatting with ‘the Beast’ myself, I sent him a SMS. Much more manly, not? I could have sent the Juniors, but they were angry at me for some reason.

American Colony Hotel
American Colony Hotel

All went well during our trip to our hotel in Jerusalem. We only had four bathroom stops, so nothing more then normal in such situation (never happened like that, but who cares at that point). We arrived at last at the American Colony Hotel.

We all got out of our bus and we moved into our hotel, with a smiling hotel manager who was looking at us happily and welcomed us in Israel with open arms. That continued – smiling and all – until he realized that there were not 30 of us, but the whole “g&^^%^$^%$%#$%d” US army!  Suddenly he was not smiling anymore and I saw him already looking for me. The cowards of a Juniors ran already in the hotel, so I was forced to confront the manager myself.

After calming the manager down (and pay a fortune to do that), he clearly didn’t care anymore to welcome us to his hotel, he disappeared posthaste. After everyone was checked in, and disappeared into the hotel, I could sit in one of those easy sofas at last.

That evening I discovered that I forgot to check myself in. “Well, sorry, no place!” But I arranged a bigger bus (the bus was called Fat Bertha, like that super gun), the Beast was happy again. The Juniors were alright after they found out I slept on the sofa. What else? Oh yes. One woman hurt her foot during wild dancing (is the Polkas a dance?), another one discovered that she’s pregnant, one man thought he lost his way and was in the wrong hotel, while he was wandering around at the back of our hotel and we experienced yesterday evening an example what Israeli rock sounded.

The concert hall was a cafe and the rock turned out to be House Music, but that was really great and everyone danced and had fun. They didn’t want to go back to the hotel at the end, but the bouncers almost kicked us out. We took Fat Bertha and went back to our hotel, still singing and dancing.

I had pain in my head and my back was hurting because of sleeping on the sofa. The Juniors had fun and were in a good mood, the Beast was still polishing Fat Bertha and our group was in a super good mood after a great breakfast (I ate chips). At the end we moved into Fat Bertha and drove to the Jerusalem markets and shopping streets. Why? We rented off a restaurant for the day, where everyone could demonstrate that they wanted to cook and we suppose to eat what the volunteers would prepare for us. The Chef of the restaurant refused to allow us ‘barbarians‘ in his kitchen alone, so he would stand guard (in the middle of his kitchen).

I skip a couple days of the tour and move to the 5th day, the day that we go to Be’er Sheba. But one more remark about the cooking in the restaurant. It was so much fun and we ate so well that evening after loads of shopping (we went back three times to the market and it was a fortune what they bought). The group didn’t burn down his kitchen nor the restaurant! And the cook hid the large knifes for some reason.

We arrived at our usual hotel in Be’er Sheba. Be’er Sheba is a very nice place, but the choice in hotels is limited and they can’t be compared with the hotels in Eilat, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. But this Be’er Sheba hotel would do. And who was there waiting for us while we were checking in the hotel? Right, the same worried looking manager from last August, who was confronted with the fact that there were two small goats running rampage in his hotel in the middle of the night in August and one totally destroyed (or better eaten) room.

Bedouin Goat Market
Bedouin Goat Market

The manager didn’t look pleased. He asked me though if we plan to go to the goat market today. Of course we would go to the goat market and not to forget the chicken market too. And this time I arranged also a small tour on camels and we would maybe see a small auction of buying and selling camels (and we have also chicken speed running organized). I told him that, and he really didn’t look pleased. I guaranteed him that we this time inspect everyone coming in and out of the bus for hidden goats, chickens and camels. The only thing he said was that he would do the same when we would come back to the hotel.

I was happy at that time, because we would only stay one night at his hotel, before we would spent two days in the desert with carts and camels. I really didn’t look forward to meet Fred the Camel again, so I could avoid having a camel tour in Eilat.

Market in Be’er Sheba
Market in Be’er Sheba

We indeed went to the markets in Be’er Sheba (the normal one, and the goat and chicken markets). Nothing exciting happened, except that our group was very hard to keep together (50 rowdy people in a very good mood with loads of energy) with three guides (the Juniors and I). We didn’t pickup any other group, they didn’t buy any goats or chickens, nobody got upset, but there were some people who bought some strange Bedouin dresses for women for some reason. We also tried the camels. That was so much fun that others have problems climbing on camels like I usual have. But no auction of camels, otherwise I could change my Juniors for a camel or three goats maybe, damn that manager.

Bedouin Goat Market
Bedouin Goat Market

We met those same Bedouin men who were asking about my 10 women and again explained to the group that I’ve a harem and 20 children, but I got my coffee. That reminded me about ordering the evening amusement and this time we had real Bedouin musicians not such phony flop of a so called d^&&*^*%&^$%^ magician and his sexy belly dancer like back in August during the goat disaster. The Juniors were giggling! I was highly suspicious seeing that, but at that moment my attention was drawn to my camel, who was trying to bite me. All camels in the world only try to bite me and nobody else.

In the evening back to the hotel, we met the manager, who was indeed inspecting everyone (I forgot to check anyone for hidden goats, chickens and camels), but he obviously not. After that, he insisted in inspecting Fat Bertha and when The Beast finally understood what the manager wanted, they together almost tore the bus apart for their ridiculous quest for goats, chickens and camels! Honestly, who do they think we are?

That evening there was no original Bedouin music, but that belly dancer and her bl**dy so called magician who was loudly calling me “The Sheik” again. I will get my revenge on my Juniors for that!

But thank goodness, I slept wonderful (even when the Beast was snoring loudly), no goats on the rampage, but I heard in the morning that the manager couldn’t sleep all night.

Ramon Crater
Ramon Crater

The next day we visited the Ramon Crater and met our Bedouins. Guess who? My old Bedouin man and his many children and camels and … Fred the Camel. Fred the Camel was the camel only for me, according the Bedouin. Damn him and his camel. The same for the Juniors. I will cook them and feed them to Fred the camel. Never met something so smelly and with such awful sounds he makes when he sees me. Always in a bad mood too. And he bites. And tries to throw me off when I finally manage to climb on his back.

Experience Eilat's Mountains

We moved to the desert with the group on the back of the camels. I knew that the Bedouin with his many children were waiting somewhere with jeeps. They suppose to pick us up tomorrow evening for a big party with the Bedouins. That evening we finally could sleep at 3 am, after I translated again the campfire stories of the old Bedouin. Instead of his usual horror theme, he was telling about the old caravans of ancient times, who were stranded in the middle of the desert and were forced to eat their own camels … and scorpions and other insects to survive.

Experience Eilat's Mountains

I changed the story and translation somewhat (the man speaks only Arabic) and told the group that camel meat tasted just like what we all ate that evening (we ate lamb). The woman who discovered (at the beginning of the tour) that she was pregnant started to puke and the Bedouin who didn’t understand English was looking at me and pointed threatening at Fred the camel and shook slowly his head, frowning and all that jazz.

So he was telling another story about the young Bedouin woman, who fell in love with a boy her age from another tribe, while her father promised her to someone else (three times her age). He translated dutifully, but every time I wanted to make his story sound more … juicy (?), the old Bedouin man (who didn’t understand English?) was pausing and frowning at me. No fun like that.

Under the stars of the desert, it would quiet anyone, so impressive it was. The old Bedouin suddenly had deep knowledge of the stars and demonstrated it. He was trying to explain to us how you could navigate in the desert and with only the stars.

The next morning was a disaster. Fred the camel managed to bite me straight in my behind and couldn’t sit very well any more after that. According Junior, Fred’s teeth were visible for days after that. It seems to be funny for the group though.


When we finally arrived at our hotel in Eilat, I could find relieve there. For whatever reason, the group tipped the Bedouin man extra! Not fair. They can’t handle some teasing? Especially when everyone was calling me Sheik.

Hilton Eilat Queen Of Sheba Hotel
Hilton Eilat Queen Of Sheba Hotel

I skip the tour here to the tenth day and we are in Jericho. Until then we survived, we didn’t pick additional guests up in our group, we didn’t loose anyone, neither additional goats or any other animals, my behind was alright again and could sit (tenderly). We still were using Fat Bertha the bus and the Beast our driver was still happy. I couldn’t exchange my juniors for camels or goats, so they were still there, looking wearily at me when I could prank them back.

Tel al-Sultan near Jericho
Tel al-Sultan near Jericho

But now we arrived in Jericho and that’s a special place in Israel. Not only it’s the oldest place you can find anywhere in Israel and surroundings, but also very mysterious. There were so many cultures and civilizations arriving and disappearing in Jericho over the many thousands of years, nobody really could even count them. There are hundreds of layers of different buildings built once in Jericho and the archeologists are still counting.

The Canaan were a bunch of wild people, who believed in all kind of gods, who are now classified as demons or devils. So everyone was interested in my horror stories and that I did. So they were already in the proper mood for the Mount of Temptation!

Mount of Temptation
Mount of Temptation

Then we came to the Mount of Temptation near Jericho, where everyone was highly impressed about my strange stories. They wanted to see proof and so we did. We didn’t take the cable cars but walked and climbed the mountain.

Mount of Temptation, the mountain and the monastery
Mount of Temptation, the mountain and the monastery

Half way some people were murmuring something bad of course, until we reached the promised caves and showed them the scratches the devil once had made thousands of years ago, when Jesus was tempted by the same devil to make bread from stone. I showed them the caves of the hermits of old, who dedicated their lives to live there and to pray, never talked to anyone else anymore for more then 40 years.

Or the Hermit who became mad after seven years in a narrow cave and who received food from people from Jericho. He became too fat to exit his cave and he died there. His spirit still haunts the cave, some believe.

Mount of Temptation, inside in the monastery
Mount of Temptation, inside in the monastery

When we finally arrived at the Monastery, everyone was looking a bit sketchy, especially my two Juniors. The Monastery is amazing where you can see the personal cells of the Monks still working there. It’s still not too late to allow the Juniors to dump them there for some month or so, I was joking of course, but one Junior thought I meant it. Ha!

At day 12 we said good bye to everyone. All went well after the disasters at the beginning when suddenly our group grew from 30 till 50. Nobody bought or smuggled any goat or camel, nobody destroyed or ate a room, I got finally my revenge on my Juniors and I had one happy large group of people who felt bad that they needed to go home.

I still have my hair (mostly), I will not see Fred the camel for at least one week and I’m dead on my feet. Now I go back home to see if my wife is still there.

I also discovered that Eddie (‘The Beast’) decided to sleep in Fat Bertha his new bus when I finally came home. My wife hid my phone after that, so I could not help him out. I discovered the day after that he changed our old new bus with Fat Bertha and the bus company was not happy.

Entertainment in Israel

day-tours  GIFMany say that there is not enough entertainment in Israel. Is that so? Israel has its theaters, concert halls and cinematheque in Jerusalem (high culture), but in Tel Aviv are the bigger entertainment centers (popular culture). In Jerusalem they pray, in Haifa they work, in Tel Aviv they play. In this article I describe entertainment in Israel and where to find it.

High culture is catered for by a fine modern opera house, several theaters, and a busy dance and performing arts center. Popular culture is supported by myriad bars, clubs and live music venues. Elsewhere, there is far less going on. Down on the Red Sea coast and in Sinai, entertainment is largely limited to bars and nightclubs.

The Jerusalem Post and the English-language edition of the newspaper Ha-Aretz, both of which are available throughout Israel, carry daily entertainment listings. Both also have extensive cultural supplements on Fridays with detailed listings of events for the week to come. There is also an English-language listings magazine Time Out Tel Aviv published every two months and available free at certain bars and hotels. Tourist offices also have abundant events magazines.

Classical Music

Classical Music
Classical Music

The Israel Philharmonic, one of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, is based in Tel Aviv at the Performing Arts Center.

The neighboring Tel Aviv Museum of Art also hosts regular chamber music concerts and other classical events in its Recanati Hall. Smaller venues include the Felicia Blumenthal Center and Einav Cultural Center, both of which host local and international classical musicians.

In the village of Ein Kerem near Jerusalem, young musicians give free recitals of chamber music every Friday at noon from October to May at the Fountain of the Virgin in the Targ Center.

Click here for more and complete information about classical music in Israel.


Jerusalem Opera Festival - Nabucco
Jerusalem Opera Festival – Nabucco

Tel Aviv’s Performing Arts Center is home to the New Israeli Opera, a world-class company, which puts on four or five new productions a year. The center also frequently hosts visiting productions from Europe and America.

Click here for all Opera related articles and lists of Operas in Israel.

Rock, Jazz and Blues

Jazz in Israel
Jazz in Israel

Local rock bands of variable quality perform most nights at Camelot and Ha-Bima Club, and also at Mike’s Place, which is a foreigner-friendly bar down on the seafront. Benchmark is a relative newcomer featuring live music in the bar-saturated area of Nakhalat Binyamin. This might be good or bad, depending on your point of view. At one side, it’s good, because everything is in a few places, but on the other side it’s very disappointing compared with the rest of the world.

For hardcore fans who are prepared to travel, Barbie mixes Israeli rock with Russian hard rock. Cafe Henrietta, Coffee House and Green Racoon, all of which are in  central Tel Aviv, all feature jazz at least one night a week.

Click here for an overview about anything to do with rock, jazz and blues music in Israel.

Click here for the rest of the modern music in Israel.

Bars and Clubs

Tel Aviv night life
Tel Aviv night life

In Tel Aviv, the main cluster of bars is in the Nakhalat Binyamin district, particularly around the southern end of Rothschild Avenue and AAL illenblum. The venue that has young hipsters queuing outside every night is Nanuchka, a rowdy but classy bar-restaurant with surreal decor and a permanent party vibe. Around the corner, the splendidly named Betty Ford is a New York-style bar with a SoHo-style buzz. There are also plenty of good late-night spots around the Cinematheque on Ha-Arbaa Street and up in the Old Port area, which is where you’ll find Hannah’le, a bar with a wooden deck jutting out over the water.

Also up at the Old Port are a couple of super clubs, including long-time favorite the Fifth Dimension. However, perhaps the most fascinating and singular club is Ha-
Hamman, a strikingly beautiful, converted Turkish bathhouse in Jaffa. For something more casual and laidback, there’s Mike’s Place down near the seafront in central Tel Aviv or the Gordon Inn, a local pub with a pool table and a reliably
friendly crowd.

In Sinai, bars and clubs are generally found in the many resort hotels.


Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater
Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater

The internationally-known Bat Sheva company is the mainstay of modern Israeli dance. There are no classical ballet companies in Israel, but contemporary dance is very much alive here. The focal point of dance activity is the Suzanne Dellal Center, a superb, old Ottoman building at the heart of the historic, southern Tel Aviv district of Neve Tzedek, which has benefited from extensive architectural renewal.

In Jerusalem, dance can be seen at the Center for Performing Arts in the Jerusalem Sherover Theater complex, while Jewish and Arabic folk dancing performances take place on Monday, Thursday and Saturday evenings in the YMCA auditorium.

Click here for a list of dance related articles.


Eilat’s Isrotel Theater
Eilat’s Isrotel Theater

Plays in Israel are almost always performed in Hebrew (or, less commonly, Arabic), although some of the bigger theaters such as Tel Aviv’s Ha-Bima Theater and New Cameri Theater (and Jerusalem’s Sherover Theater) have headphones providing English-language translation for some performances, though there are a lot of performances in English as well. Productions, in all cases, range from revivals of the classics of world drama (both old and modern) to first-run stagings of new Israeli plays.

There are several theater festivals throughout the year in Israel, the most exciting of which is the Acre Fringe Theater Festival, which stages some performances in the city’s subterranean Crusader halls.

Click here for all theater related articles.


Cinema City Jerusalem
Cinema City Jerusalem

Foreign films shown in Israel are not dubbed, but carry Hebrew subtitles. Cinemas
are plentiful, especially in Tel Aviv, where complexes such as the Rav-Chen 1–5 are
modern, comfortable and air-conditioned. They tend to screen first-run Hollywood
fare. The Cinematheques, of which there is one in Jerusalem and one in Tel Aviv, specialize in art-house and independent films, as well as holding themed seasons
and retrospectives.

Israel’s biggest movie theater complex is Cinema City, which has 21 auditoriums and three 3D screens.

  1. Cinema City Jerusalem (8/20/2016) - Cinema City Jerusalem, which opened the end of February 2014, is the largest entertainment and cultural center in Jerusalem measuring in at 20,000 square meters and including eight floors, 19 movie theaters, including themed theaters, an indoor mall with dozens of restaurants, cafes and stores, a theater for plays, a hall for conferences, a cinema museum and many other attractions.
  2. Davidson Center (8/19/2016) - The center was built into the basement of an eighth-century building, scrupulously preserving and enhancing it. As you follow the winding ramp downward, artwork and archaeological finds take you back through the ages, and you’ll meet colorful figures of Jerusalem’s exploration in days gone by. A ten-minute, high-definition digital video ingeniously interchanges the experience of Second Temple pilgrims with that of present-day visitors.
  3. Ein Yael (8/20/2016) - Spring in Nakhal Refa'im, with adjoining Ein Yael Museum, an active museum that holds instructional-experiential workshops for schoolchildren and youth on material culture in ancient times.
  4. Entertainment for Children in Israel (9/28/2016) - In northern Tel Aviv, the Ramat Gan Safari Zoo makes a good outing for children. You can drive through and observe the wildlife in its natural habitat. The Children’s Museum in Holon, a short drive from Tel Aviv, has lots of fun, interactive exhibits. Mini Israel, which is just off the main highway that runs between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, has over 350 miniature models of the Holy Land’s most important landmarks. On the shores of the Dead Sea, just south of Jericho.
  5. Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival 2016 Entertainment in Israel (9/28/2016) - Many say that there is not enough entertainment in Israel. Is that so? Israel has its theaters, concert halls and cinematheque in Jerusalem (high culture), but in Tel Aviv are the bigger entertainment centers (popular culture). In Jerusalem they pray, in Haifa they work, in Tel Aviv they play. In this article I describe entertainment in Israel and where to find it.
  6. Family and Children Tour 10 Days (8/24/2016) - This tour is for families and their children. It will bring you to Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Acre, Sea of Galilee, Golan, Safed, Jerusalem and Eilat. The tour is designed for the individual, as for groups, with or without a professional guide. The guide can speak English, German and Dutch.
  7. Family and Children Tour 12 Days (8/24/2016) - This tour is for families and their children. It will bring you to Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Acre, Sea of Galilee, Golan, Safed, Jerusalem, Dead Sea, Qumran, Masada, Negev and Eilat. The tour is designed for the individual, as for groups, with or without a professional guide. The guide can speak English, German, and Dutch.
  8. Festival BeShekel 2016 Festival BeShekel 2016 – Two days for Free – October 2016 (9/6/2016) - Thousands of people descend on Monfort Lake Park in North Israel for a free 2-day festival. Founded in 2001, famous bands like Nechi Nech, Yemen Blues, and Yuval Dayan, perform alongside smaller local bands. There are also loads of events for the family, including shows, face painting, stalls, and lots of other activities.
  9. Haifa Film Festival 2016 – October 2016 (9/6/2016) - The Haifa International Film Festival is an annual film festival that takes place every autumn (between late September and late October), during the week-long holiday of Sukkot, in Haifa, Israel. The festival was inaugurated in 1983 and was the first of its kind in Israel.
  10. International Center Mary of Nazareth (8/18/2016) - Modern multimedia technology portrays the Virgin Mary’s role in salvation history at the Mary of Nazareth International Center, just across the street from the towering basilica that commemorates her agreement to become the mother of the Son of God.
  11. Jewish Film Festival 2016 Jewish Film Festival 2016 – December 2016 (9/15/2016) - The annual Jewish Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque explores a range of topics connected to the issue of Jewish identity are examined including: faith, art, culture, philosophy, music, food, lifestyle in Israel and in the Diaspora and the relationship between Judaism and other religions.
  12. Katzrin, Capital of the Golan (10/9/2016) - Katzrin (Qazrin), ‘capital of the Golan’, with 6,725 people living there, makes an excellent base for exploring the central Golan and stocking up on picnic supplies. Founded in 1977, it is the region’s only real town. The lively little commercial center, Merkaz Eitan, is a classic 1970s complex that was spruced up considerably in 2013 – adding a tile-covered sculpture that is as whimsical as it is colorful. In addition to a bank and some eateries, it has a first-rate museum. Everything closes on Shabbat.
  13. Kings City Eilat (8/15/2016) - Biblical amusement park. Caves depicting stages in King Solomon's life, an elevator to underground biblical scenes, 3-D movies, Hippopotamuses that spray water, water slides, mazes, an arcade and more. The park is closed on Saturdays and holidays.
  14. Jerusalem Day 2019 May 2019 – Jerusalem Day 2019 (2/7/2019) - Jerusalem Day is the day we celebrate the independence of the holy city, celebrations include huge parties, concerts, street parties and more! To get an idea of what Jerusalem Day looks like, check out last year’s list of events
  15. Sahek Ota, Emek Hefer (8/20/2016) - This huge fun park is the only water park in Israel that operates all year round, with water parks in the summer, and heated pools and play areas in the winter. Plenty of great activities for the kids, with an extreme water park, fair rides, video games, mini golf, the Himalaya Bridge, a gymboree, and other great things to enjoy! There’s also a small museum.
  16. Shaon Horef – Cultural Festival 2017 Shaon Horef – Cultural Festival 2017 – February 2017 (9/8/2016) - Every year, for 4 weeks in February, the Shaon Horef Cultural Festival transforms the streets of Jerusalem into a lively cultural venue full of surprises as thousands of young people come together for this exciting series of cultural happenings with more then 100 free events.
  17. Sounds of the Old City 2017 – March 2017 (9/8/2016) - Sounds of the Old City is a festival of international music inspired by the Old City quarters which are a focal point of Jerusalem’s culture and tourism. It allows visitors the exposure to the musical traditions found in the Old City of Jerusalem where special melodies both ancient and modern, played on a range of instruments and ensembles, create a collage of beautiful music.
  18. The French Film Festival The French Film Festival – March 2017 – April 2017 (9/8/2016) - French film is the most popular foreign film in Israel after English-language film, consistently drawing the largest number of viewers, with a larger number of films being brought to Israel from France than from any other country.
  19. The Opera at Zappa - Pretty Woman The Opera at Zappa – Pretty Woman – September 2016 (1/7/2016) - Opera and movies is a winning combination. From Pretty Woman to The Fifth Element, from James Bond to Mission Impossible opera has served as a great soundtrack for the great movies of all time. An evening of operatic soundtracks from La boheme to La traviata with an addition of great film songs from Goldfinger, Breakfast at Tiffnay’s and more.
  20. The Tour from Hell (10/1/2016) - This tour was the tour from hell ... for me. For the group absolutely not, because they had loads of fun, costing me my hair of course. We are talking about a tour, which shows what Israel actually is, a mixture of culture, adventure, exploration and Israeli sights in all the major touristic centers of Israel. This article is part of the Tour Guide Diaries September 2016.
  21. Tower of David (8/19/2016) - Fortress within the walls of the Old City which is a complex of towers surrounded by a wall and a moat. The archaeological park in the courtyard of the fortress contains ancient remains. The Tower of David museum on the history of Jerusalem operates in the halls of the fortress. A special night show on the story of Jerusalem throughout the generations takes place in the evenings in the courtyard of the museum.
  22. Tower of David Nightly Light Show Spectacle Gallery (10/5/2016) - The walls of the Citadel serve as a stage for a nighttime show which is a celebration of sight and sound. Amidst the archaeological remains in the Citadel’s courtyard and to the sound of original music, the story of Jerusalem unfolds through giant breathtaking, virtual reality images. The Night Spectacular uses trompe l’oeil technology – the stones of the walls and structures fade into the scenes and the screened images envelop the viewers and whisk them off to a one-of-a-kind multi-sensory experience.

Spectator sports
Football is by far the most popular sport throughout the Holy Land. Two teams from Jerusalem play in Israel’s premier league, Beitar and Ha-Poel, and matches take place in the new Teddy Stadium at Malkha in West Jerusalem.

Basketball is the next most popular sport. The Jerusalem team, Ha-Poel, plays in the Sports Arena near the Teddy Stadium, while the Maccabee Tel Aviv plays at the Yad Eliahu Arena just off the Ayalon highway.


Speedo Sea of Galilee Swim 2016
Speedo Sea of Galilee Swim 2016

Almost all the large hotels have outdoor swimming pools; the YMCA in Jerusalem
also has an indoor pool. You can also swim all year round at the Jerusalem Swimming Pool, in the German Colony district, south of the center. The Red Sea is warm enough for year-round swimming, although most resort hotels also have swimming pools. Swimming in the Mediterranean is fine in summer but it’s too cold
from around October to April.


In northern Tel Aviv, the Ramat Gan Safari Zoo makes a good outing for children. You can drive through and observe the wildlife in its natural habitat. The Children’s Museum in Holon, a short drive from Tel Aviv, has lots of fun, interactive exhibits.
Mini Israel, which is just off the main highway that runs between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, has over 350 miniature models of the Holy Land’s most important landmarks.
On the shores of the Dead Sea, just south of Jericho.

But there is so much more for children and their entertainment.



  • Einav Cultural Centre, 71 Ibn Gvirol St, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 521 7763.
  • Felicia Blumenthal Centre 26 Bialik St, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 620 1185.
  • King Hussein Cultural Centre Omar Matar St, El-Muhajareen, Amman. Tel (06) 473 9953.
  • Performing Arts Centre 19 Ha-Melekh Shaul Ave, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 692 7777.
  • Royal Cultural Centre Al-Malekah Alia St, Shmeisani, Amman. Tel (06) 566 1026.
  • Targ Centre Ein Kerem, near Jerusalem. Tel (02) 641 4250.
  • Tel Aviv Museum of Art 27 Ha-Melekh Shaul Ave, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 696 1297.



  • Barbie 52 Kibbutz Gayulot St, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 518 8123.
  • Benchmark37 Nakhalat Binyamin St,Tel Aviv.
  • Cafe Henrietta 186 Arlozorov St, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 691 1715.
  • Camelot16 Shalom Aleichem St,Tel Aviv.Tel (03) 629 8666.
  • Coffee House88 Dizengoff St, Tel Aviv.Tel (03) 528 0565.
  • Green Racoon 186 Ben Yehuda St, Tel Aviv.Tel (03) 529 8513.
  • Ha-Bima ClubBasement, 2 Tarsat St,Tel Aviv.Tel (03) 528 2174.
  • Mike’s Place86 Herbert Samuel, TelAviv.Tel (052) 670 965.


  • Betty Ford 48 Nakhalat Binyamin St, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 510 0650.
  • Big Fellow Irish Pub Abdoun Circle, Amman. Tel (06) 593 4766.
  • Cave Bar Behind the Visitors’ Centre, Petra. Tel (03) 215 6266.
  • Champions Amman Marriott, Isam el-Ajlouni St, Shmeisani, Amman. Tel (06) 560 7607.
  • Fifth Dimension Old Port, Tel Aviv. Tel (052) 242 5891.
  • Gordon Inn 17 Gordon St, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 523 8239.
  • Ha-Hammam 10 Mifraz Shlomo St, Jaffa. Tel (03) 681 3261.
  • Hannah’le Old Port, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 488 4884.
  • Living RoomMohammed HusseinHeikal St, Amman.Tel (06) 465 5988.
  • Nanuchka28 Lilenblum St, Tel Aviv.Tel (03) 516 2254.


  • Jerash Festival Jerash Festival Office, Amman, Jordan. Tel (06) 567 5199.
  • Suzanne Dellal Centre 5 Yehieli St, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 510 5656.
  • YMCA King David St, Jerusalem. Tel (02) 569 2692.



  • Century Cinemas 3rd Circle, Jebel Amman, Amman, Jordan. Tel (06) 461 3200.
  • Cinema CityGilot Junction, Tel Aviv.Tel (1-700) 702 25.
  • GalleriaAbdoun Circle,Amman, Jordan. Tel (06) 593 4793. Rav-Chen 1-5
  • Opera Towers, 1 AllenbySt, Tel Aviv.Tel (03) 510 2674.
  • Tel AvivCinematheque 2 Sprinzhak St, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 606 0800.


  • Jordan International Stadium Shmeisani, Amman.
  • Teddy Stadium Agudat Sport Beitar, Malkha, West Jerusalem. Tel (02) 678 8320.
  • Yad Eliahu Arena 51 Yigal Allon St, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 537 6376.


  • Jerusalem Swimming Pool 43 Emek Refaim St. Tel (02) 563 2092.


  • Children’s Museum 1 Mifratz Shlomo St, Holon, Israel Tel (03) 650 3000.
  • Mini Israel Kibbutz Nacsho, Latrun, Israel Tel (08) 922 2444.
  • Ramat Gan Safari Zoo Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv. Tel (03) 631 3531.

Feast of Tabernacles 2016 – October 2016

Sukkot, the Feast of Booths, was special in that historically, it was the holiday on which all nations pilgrimaged to Jerusalem, not just the Jewish people.

For the past 33 years, thousands of Christians from around the world come to Jerusalem every fall to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

Join fellow believers for a dynamic worship experience, including the amazing Jerusalem March, giving you a foretaste of times to come. In 2014, for the first time, the Feast took place in the new Pais Arena. With 11,600 seats on eight levels, along with special seating galleries and executive boxes plus a massive LED screen, this was the first major international gathering in the just-opened facility.

The Feast, which is a huge statement of solidarity with Israel, includes the traditional Israeli Guest Night on October 14, an event opened to thousands of Israelis to enjoy a musical program geared towards a Jewish audience. Israelis can enjoy their first experience in the new arena along with their Christian friends from around the world, featuring special performances by Israeli and foreign artists.


Dates: October 16-21, 2016
Where: The new Jerusalem Pais Arena
Info: Official website

Sounds of the Old City 2017 – March 2017

Sounds of the Old City is a festival of international music inspired by the Old City quarters which are a focal point of Jerusalem’s culture and tourism. It allows visitors the exposure to the musical traditions found in the Old City of Jerusalem where special melodies both ancient and modern, played on a range of instruments and ensembles, create a collage of beautiful music.

While performing from the wealth of music and culture of Jerusalem, this festival also strengthens the different quarters and religions through the accentuation on the uniqueness of each group and the connection between all. The sounds are varied, rich and connect to the stones, the alleyways and the people in Jerusalem.

The musicians are spread out along a circular path, beginning by Jaffa Gate, moving through the Armenian Quarter, then the Jewish Quarter, then the Muslim Quarter and finishing with the Christian Quarter, bringing you back to Jaffa Gate.

Sounds of the Old City is organized in conjunction with the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry, the Jerusalem Municipality and Ariel Company.

The 4-day event will be full of concerts, special tours, and shows, but here are some hand-picked happenings you won’t want to miss.

2017 festival events will be updated soon


When: March 28-31 from 7:00-11:00 pm every day
Where: Throughout the Old City of Jerusalem
Admission: Free
More information: phone 106 (local call),

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 28-31 March, 19:00 – 23:00