With the festivities of this year’s Eurovision contest in full swing, Tel Aviv is turning into a tourist hot spot. Visitors from Europe are heading to our small Middle Eastern city to be entertained by artists from around the world. Last year, Netta Barzilai’s Eurovision song “Toy” won over audiences for its quirky lyrics and funky beat. While Netta does have some clearly identifiable Israeli musical traits in her Eurovision-winning single, the music of this region is unique and waiting to be discovered. There are tons of other popular artists to learn about, from the old classics to emerging new artists. Let’s take a look at a mixture of popular Israeli musicians you should know about.

Ofra Haza

From 11 years old, Ofra Haza has been singing and entertaining. Hailing from a poor area of Tel Aviv, Ofra grew up in a Yemenite family. Her 1985 album, “Fifty Gates of Wisdom” thrust her into the spotlight. Ofra’s influence is so large in the region that she is often referred to as “The Israeli Madonna.” Her music is inspired by Hebrew culture and her Yemenite heritage, making her a pioneer among modern Israeli musicians. Her music brought together both Eastern and Western elements, and her particular sound became popular not only throughout Israel, but also in Europe and America.

Arik Einstein

Regarded as one of the most influential Israeli musicians of all time, Arik Einstein is often referred to as “the voice of Israel.” In his prolific career, he recorded over 500 songs and 34 albums. During his career, he collaborated with many other Israeli musicians and bands. In addition to his musical talents, he was also an actor and a screenwriter. He often wrote and performed songs tied closely to Israel’s culture and history. In fact, his influence in the country was so strong that a critic claimed that “Einstein is the real Israel himself.”

Shlomo Artzi

The beginning of Shlomo Artzi’s career is a bit of a rollercoaster. In 1975, he was selected to represent Israel in the Eurovision song contest. However, he did not win that year and the subsequent album he produced after Eurovision was a flop. However, he continued making music and a few years later gained significant popularity in the Israeli charts. His musical style is mostly folk rock, and throughout his career he sold over 1.5 million albums and became one of Israel’s most popular singers.

Aviv Geffen

Another popular Israeli rock singer, Aviv Geffen is both a solo musician and was part of a band. His music often deals with popular Israeli themes, such as the army and regional politics, while he also covers other topics like love, peace, and death. He was inspired by artists such as Pink Floyd, U2, Nirvana, and John Lennon, and fans can definitely the influence in his songs. He was prolific and produced many albums, ingraining himself as a beloved Israeli musician.

Omer Adam

After participating as a contestant on a TV show for singers, Omer Adam quickly gained popularity. In fact, he’s become one of the most popular Israel musicians at the moment, with his concerts selling out within hours. His style brings the traditional ‘Mizrachi’ style together with Western pop to create catchy songs that regularly land in the top of the Israeli charts. His song “Tel Aviv” became an anthem for the Pride festival in 2013, and now he has many more hits under his belt.

Balkan Beat Box

Fusing many different musical styles, Balkan Beat Box have become one of the few internationally-popular Israeli musicians. The band members, Tamir Muskat, Ori Kaplan, and Tomer Yosef met in New York and formed their sound by bringing together different musical styles. Their music is influenced by Middle Eastern and Southeastern Europe (Balkan) sounds, as well as punk, klezmer, reggae, and electronic music. The combination of it all makes for a funky upbeat sound. Their songs have even been sampled by Western artists. Jason Derulo used parts of BBB’s song “Hermetico” in his hit, “Talk Dirty.”

Lola Marsh

The duo formed in 2013 in Tel Aviv, and is know for their indie-vibe and melodic tunes. Their song “Sirens” went viral on Spotify in the US, followed not long after by their next viral hit, “You’re Mine.” Their sound is uniquely alt-folk, which isn’t a typical sound for Israeli musicians. Their first album came out in 2017, titled “Remember Roses.”

Esther Rada

The multitalented Esther Rada is both an actress and a singer of Ethiopian decent. During her service in the IDF, she sang pop songs for an army band, and that is where she got her start. After the release of her EP, she gained notoriety on a tour in Europe, Canada, and the US. She claims her musical influences as female vocal powerhouses Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lauryn Hill, along with songs and melodies of Ethiopian jazz.

Sarit Hadad

Like Shlomo Artzi, Sarit Hadad also got her start as a contestant on Eurovision in 2002. As a young child prodigy, Hadad started performing at the young age of eight. By the time she was ten, she was able to play the piano, organ, guitar, accordion, and darbuka. Sarit has had many pop hits in Israel. She was even named “the best female singer of the 2000s” by and Israeli music channel. Her music blends typical pop with Mizrahi tunes and occasional Arabic lyrics. She has become popular internationally: she was the first Israeli to ever perform in Jordan and even Madonna has professed to be a fan!

A-Wa

Composed of three sisters, Tair, Liron, and Tagel Haim, A-Wa is know for their mix of traditional Yemenite sound and electronic pop music. They were discovered by the lead singer of Balkan Beat Box. Surprisingly, after the release of their first single, “Habib Galbi,” the song went viral in Muslim countries. It then went on to become the first ever song sung in Arabic to reach number 1 on the Israeli charts.

There are so many more Israeli musicians we can write about, but we think this is a good start! One your trip to Israel, why not catch an Israeli concert and experience the magic of traditional Israeli music for yourself? Contact us to plan your perfect Israel journey!

While we say goodbye to 2018 and the record-breaking amount of tourism it brought to the Holy Land, we look forward to another incredible year before us. 2019 is exciting for so many reasons: new luxury hotels, international concerts, and festivals that are bigger and better than ever before. If you’ve been constantly planning & putting off your trip to Israel, an Israel tour in 2019 is a fantastic idea, and here are 19 reasons why:

1 – Eurovision

israel tour in 2019_eurovision_netta

Last year’s Eurovision got the whole nation together for two reasons: to rally behind winner Netta Barzilay, and to collectively get excited to host the world’s biggest song contest in 2019. Expect appearances from the infamous Dana International and other previous Eurovision winners. Additionally, it is rumoured that the event will be hosted by none-other than the stunning Israeli supermodel, Bar Rafaeli. Be sure to book your accommodation way ahead of time, since many people are planning their Israel tour in 2019 around this event!

2 – Jon Bon Jovi concert

Another huge musical event taking place in July 2019, is Jon Bon Jovi’s return to Tel Aviv. The rock legend will be playing in Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv. As always, it’s expected to be a great show. His 2015 show saw 50,000 audience members singing along to “Livin’ on a Prayer.” We’re sure the 2019 show will be even bigger!

3 – Elections

While not quite a tourist attraction, the Israeli elections were called earlier than scheduled and will now be held in April of 2019. Anyone with an interest in Middle-Eastern politics will surely keep a close eye on the campaigning and lead-up to election day. There’s never a dull moment when it comes to Israeli politics!

4 – Slash Concert

Israel always gets a few big acts that pass through each summer, and 2019 is no exception. If Eurovision and Bon Jovi weren’t enough to keep you satisfied, you also have the chance to see Slash in concert in July 2019. The legendary frontman of Guns N’ Roses will be playing with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators in Tel Aviv. Get your tickets in advance!

5 – Virgin Atlantic Flights

Since Israeli Shai Weiss became the CEO of Virgin Atlantic, he’s been trying to compete for popular routes to Tel Aviv. Lookout for new Virgin Atlantic flights between London and Tel Aviv starting this year. In May, Virgin hopes to fly in 200 fans from London to Tel Aviv to enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest!

6 – Even More Tourism

2018 was a record-breaking year for tourism to Israel. Before that, 2017 was a record-breaking yea for Israeli tourism. (Notice a pattern here?) There’s no doubt that with new airlines coming in, beautiful new hotels, and Eurovision, there will be a huge influx of tourists visiting the Holy Land. With all the excitement, accommodation and entertainment are sure to get booked up quickly, so if you’re planning an Israel tour in 2019, get a move on and contact us so we can help you plan before it’s too late!

7 – Pride Parade

israel tour in 2019_pride parade

Tel Aviv Pride is a yearly event that sees thousands of tourists coming each June to celebrate love and the LGBTQ community. Tel Aviv’s parade is known internationally as being one of the best. Last year, there were over 250,000 parade attendees! In 2019, the parade is expected to be even bigger, so if you’re planning your Israel tour in 2019 for June, be sure to pack some rainbow-colored clothes and join in on the fun!

8 – The Dead Sea

Fodor’s listed The Dead Sea as one of the top 50 places to visit in 2019, and we can see why. They describe it “like nowhere else on earth. This shimmering saltwater lake appears in the distance like a mirage in the desert. It’s somehow both otherworldly and right in the middle of it all, surrounded by Israel, Palestine, and Jordan in the heart of the Middle East. It’s undeniably special here and the kind of place that you’re not likely to forget.” Need more reasons to visit The Dead Sea during your Israel tour in 2019? Check out our list of cool facts you didn’t know about The Dead Sea.

Book your Dead Sea Tour

9 – Midburn

Another yearly even that happens in the Negev desert is Midburn. The event is modelled after Burning Man, which takes place in the deserts of Nevada. The Israel version features tons of incredible art installations, different types of wellness events, parties, and show-stopping costumes. Many people fly in from outside Israel just to attend this unforgettable week in the desert.

10 – Michael Jackson Tribute

Another one of the great concerts happening in 2019 in Israel. The Michael Jackson tribute concert will be touring around the country in February, so you can be sure to catch it during your Israel tour in 2019. The “I Am King” performance will include a Live Orchestra, broadway dancers, and classic hits in 20 shows around the country

11- Eilat Ramon Airport

In addition to the new Ovda Airport 60km north of Eilat, a new airport, Eilat Ramon, is set to open in 2019. The new airport will replaced Eilat’s current Eilat J. Hozman Airport. The opening of Ovda Airport saw tons of new low-cost international airlines flying directly into Israel’s south. We’re sure to see more exciting routes when the new airport opens in 2019!

12- Crusader Wall Tour in Caesarea

A new tourist attraction will open in 2019 in the ancient Roman city of Caesarea. Tourists will now be able to walk on the ancient walls with the new Crusader Wall Promenade. This is part of a project to increase tourism to the city. Caesarea has always been a magical place to visit with it’s 2,000 year-old history and archeology, this is sure to be an exciting addition!

Book your Caesarea Tour

13- Eilat Jazz Fest

The Red Sea Jazz Festival takes place in February, and features both local Israeli acts and international artists. Definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in live Jazz music!

14 – Six Senses Shaharut Hotel Resort

israel tour in 2019_six sense shaharut
Six Senses Shaharut photo courtesy of Six Senses

A luxurious hotel resort by the Six Senses chain is slated to open in 2019. The hotel will be in Israel’s Negev desert in the Arava Valley. It will include 58 suites and villas with private pools, and a private high-end spa for guests. The hotel is focused on sustainability and wellness. It will also include a Camel ranch and an open amphitheater, and Bedouin-style tents for an authentic Middle-Eastern experience.

15 – Jerusalem Marathon

Run 5k, 10k, a half-marathon, or the full 42.2KM in the annual Jerusalem Marathon! (We also won’t blame you if you just want to stand on the sidelines and cheer). Due to its hilly terrain, the Jerusalem Marathon is known to be a tough one. Runners from around the world come to participate in this challenging event. Is 2019 your year?

16 – Tel Aviv White Night

Tel Aviv’s annual White Night falls at the end of June. It typically includes a night of fun live musical shows, art installations, street parties, food stands, and more. The event is popular with locals and internationals, and has fun events for the whole family.

17 – Christmas in Bethlehem

If you didn’t get to spend your 2018 Christmas holiday in the Holy Land, then let’s help you get here for 2019. There’s no better way to spend Christmas in the Holy Land than visiting Bethlehem for an unforgettable midnight mass. See what else you can do for Christmas in Israel here!

18 – Purim

Another annual holiday and event that takes place around the country is Purim. Typically, children dress up, bake triangular shaped cookies, and enjoy a fun day to celebrate this holiday. However, leave it to Tel Aviv to turn this children’s day into a massive party! Every year, thousands of people get decked out in incredible DIY costumes and attend any of the hundreds of street parties and events happening around the city. Jerusalem is also known for having huge Purim events. Iff you’re here for an Israel tour in 2019 in the month of March, be sure not to miss out!

19 – White City Center

Known for it’s unique Bahaus architecture, Tel Aviv is known as the White City due to all the white buildings that dot the Mediterranean Sea. A new center, set to open in a historic building in 2019, will preserve this historic architecture and tell its story. It will also be a place for events, and it will offer tours related to the beautiful architecture.

As you can see, there are no shortage of things going in in Israel this upcoming year. Contact us today to help you plan your Israel tour in 2019!

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