24 June 2018 - 11 Tammuz 5778 - י"א תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Arts & Culture
Israel wins Eurovision song contest E-mail

Female Israeli artist Netta Barzilai’s song Toy won the 63rd pan-European song contest final on 12 May at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.

Coming into the contest, Netta’s song was clearly not the favourite, and with antiIsrael sentiment in evidence at the event it was an incredible achievement against the odds. In fact, the song earned the fourthhighest score in the competition’s long history, with 26 countries participating in the final.

At this year’s contest, Israel would have come in third if the decision had been solely up to the official juries of the 43 countries that participated. But the juries, which gave Israel 212 points, determined only 50% of the scores. Callers gave Israel another 317 points on top of its total to 529, nearly 100 points more than the next-closest contestant, Cyprus.

Barzilai’s victory was the fourth for Israel, following its wins in 1978, 1979 and 1998, and suggested that catchy pop trumps politics in the four decades Israel has taken part. Barzilai’s eccentric feminist anthem Toy, which combines clucking chicken noises over looped vocals and English lyrics, seemed to win out over any qualms about Zionism.

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“Out of the Blue” – Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem E-mail

A new exhibition has opened at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, in honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary year, traces the thread of the mysterious blue colour, tekhelet, on its journey from the Mediterranean shores over 3,500 years ago through to the national colours of the State of Israel’s national flag.

Tekhelet and argaman, two precious colours have carried great significance for generations up to the present day. The sacred meaning of tekhelet took root in Jewish history when the Israelites were commanded to cover the Ark of the Covenant and Tabernacle utensils with tekhelet dyed cloths, and to tie tekhelet threads to the corners of their garments as a reminder of God and his commandments.

The Bible mentions tekhelet alongside another luxurious colour – argaman, the majestic purple, which was a prestigious colour of great importance in the ancient world and a symbol of royalty and nobility. With the decline of the blue and purple dye industry, the skill required to produce these dyes was lost and forgotten for centuries. In recent generations, interest in the colours has revived after researchers traced the source of both tekhelet and argaman to murex snails indigenous to the Mediterranean Sea.

Out of the Blue showcases unique archeological and historical items of profound cultural significance. The exhibition displays for the first time two-thousand-year-old tekhelet and argaman dyed fragments of textiles found in the caves of the Judean Desert and Masada.

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Indian dance company to return to Tel Aviv E-mail

In conjunction with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Embassy of India in Israel, the Navdhara India Dance Theatre (NIDT) will return for its third visit to the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv to perform Agni at the Dellal Hall on 23-24 July.

Agni was commissioned by the Suzanne Dellal Center and premièred on 22 December 2016 in Mumbai, India. The audience that night gave the piece a standing ovation, and it has since been performed in many cities around the world.

In Hindi, the word means fire, a symbol of destruction and purification, beginnings and endings. It gives light yet destroys to the point of darkness. As passions arise, personal and political walls are destroyed and new ones are built. In this contemporary Indian dance-theatre piece, the dancers explore the concept of Agni, the body and death in its various manifestations. Agni is a journey of fire that must be experienced more than seen; felt more than understood.

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