A talented, proud, and always persecuted people managed to preserve its national identity and formed at last a state of its own – Israel – 70 years ago. Since then, a small territory has turned form a stone desert into a flourishing oasis, built cities and factories, established one of the strongest armies, up-to-date science and agriculture which supplies its fruits to a half of the world’s countries, and a unique multinational culture. Jews from all over the world, of different skin colors, came here to create their state. They do not forget their history, keep artifacts with care, and remember joyful events as well as tragedies and pain. They never cease to enjoy life and create indefatigably.
Mr. Eliav Belotserkovsky, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Israel to Ukraine, has kindly agreed to speak of major cultural programs the embassy regularly carries out in this country, thus bringing our states, cultures, and people closer.
Mr. Ambassador, what kind of a cultural program is the Embassy of Israel in Ukraine carrying out in the year of the 70th anniversary of your state?
“The Embassy of the State of Israel in Ukraine attaches great importance to representing Israeli culture in Ukraine and actively participates in all major cultural events in the country, such as the ‘Book Arsenal’ international festival, the Odesa International Film Festival, the Lviv Forum of Publishers, the Lviv Week of Contemporary Art, the GogolFest contemporary art festival, music festivals, including Atlas Weekend in Kyiv, Leopolis Jazz in Lviv, Jazz Koktebel, now held in Chornomorskyi, Two Days & Two Nights of New Music in Odesa, and many others.
“This year ‘Book Arsenal’ will be visited by my favorite Israeli writer Meir Shalev, a prominent figure in not only Israeli, but also worldwide literature. His books have been translated into 17 languages. The Folio publishers have put out the Ukrainian translation of his book My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner. His visit is very likely to be followed by new translations.
“Negotiations are underway with Inbal Pinto Dance Company, whose choreographic productions are widely known both in and outside Israel. They will perform in Kyiv in June or July with support from GogolFest and, if things go smoothly, in Ivano-Frankivsk at the Porto Franco festival.
“The Shalosh trio will represent Israel at the Leopolis Jazz festival (it is the new name of the famous Alfa Jazz Fest), and the superb singer Vira Lozinsky and her band will appear at Lviv Klez Fest, the 10th festival of klezmer music.
“Odesaites can also fully appreciate the novelties of Israeli culture. The abovementioned ‘Two Days & Two Nights’ is a unique international festival of contemporary art that attracts the best musicians and composers from all over the world. Participating in it is a ‘quality mark’ of sorts, a sign of high level and impeccable musical taste. And if Israeli performers and composers wish and can take part in it, I think this initiative must be supported. The festival is preparing a new special program to mark the 70th anniversary of Israel. Odesa will see well-known Israeli composers and musicians and hear works of Jewish composers performed by the well-known Austrian singer of Jewish origin, bass-baritone Rupert Bergmann, and the trio Senza Sforzando.
“We also cooperate fruitfully with the Odesa International Film Festival, one of the main cinema events in Ukraine. After Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers and the government of the State of Israel signed an agreement on film co-production, Israeli film and TV producers have been regularly participating in the professional section for two years. For example, last year Marek Rosenbaum (Transfax Film Productions) was a member of the international jury for Ukrainian-made or co-produced film projects, while Shani Klein, who starred in Zero Motivation that won the Odesa Festival’s Grand Prix in 2014 and was a member of the national competition program jury two years ago, conducted master classes last year for young actors. We plan to bring new films and personalities to Odesa in 2018 and expect to lay the groundwork for long-term fruitful cooperation in the film industry.
“The world-famous violinist Shlomo Mintz is going to perform in Kyiv in November, and a tour of the Israeli bands for Atlas Weekend and Jazz Koktebel is being negotiated.
“Please follow updates on the embassy’s website and our Facebook page. The program of cultural events promises to be very rich in content this year.”