They came from over 40 different countries, and like every year for the past 38 years, they interacted peacefully. People from different religions and ethnicities mingled, played music and displayed their crafts as the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem stood in the background.
The 38th annual Khutzot Hayotzer International Arts and Crafts Festival is taking place in Jerusalem though August 18th. Also spelled "Hutzot" or "Chuzot," the festival features artists and musicians from Israel and foreign countries. The event is held Sunday through Thursday evening at the Khutsot Hayotser Arts and Crafts Center, the Mitchell Gardens and the Merrill Hassenfeld Amphitheater in the Sultan’s Pool near the Old City of Jerusalem.
On sale are hand-made authentic jewelry, clothing, paintings, sculptures, food, and more. The historic Sultan's Pool area, once used by the Maccabees for Jewish festivals, is divided into an Israeli section and an international section.
The vast array of foreign artisans came from such countries as:
Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, United States and Zimbabwe.
Special concerts featuring famous Israeli musicians were held as well. They included: Shlomi Shabat Mosh Ben Ari, Shalom Hanoch, Moshe Peretz, Yehudit Ravitz, Eviatar Banai, Matti Caspi & Riki Gal, Ivri Lider and Ehud Banai.
On Thursday evening, Amir Benayoun will sing and on Saturday after sundown, the final night of the event, Berry Sakharof will perform.
A second stage featured acts such as the Jali Ensemble Afro-Israeli celebration, The Holyland Singers Gospel music from Dimona, A Tribute to Simon & Garfunkel, Jazz & French songs, Mika Karni's "Kol Dodi," Olam Umelo'o Ensemble, Rockfour, Greek music with Perach Adom and South American music with Paloma Blanca. A children's stage featured plays and puppet shows.
In August of 2003, then-Mayor Uri Lupolianski and other officials from the Jerusalem Municipality, decided to hold the festival as usual despite a deadly terrorist suicide bombing in the city the night before - although the street performances and opening show were cancelled for security reasons.
The following is a photo essay displaying some of the sights and sounds from the event.
All photos by Ben Bresky.
Ben Bresky hosts the Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast, one of Arutz Sheva's podcasts, interviewing a wide range of Jewish and Israeli musicians from Carlebach to klezmer, from hassidic to trance. For mp3 archives click here. For Facebook click here. For Twitter click here.