Two exciting initiatives involving the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls. The first is a German-Israel project to build a website for digital editions of the pieced-together manuscripts. The second is the recent discovery of hidden writing on fragments of the scrolls that previously seemed blank.
Two Israeli companies did well in the 24th Annual Webby Awards – the “Oscars of the Internet” for online excellence. Leo Burnett Israel won a “Webby” for the Best Use of Stories for its “Eva” stories. MyHeritage also received acclaim for its Tribal Quest project (reported previously).
Since visitors are prohibited from going inside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the museum brought some of its artwork outside, to be enjoyed from homes and balconies across the city. These included screenings of video art in the evenings in various outdoor spaces.
The Jerusalem Municipality has launched project "closeup jlm" – its own mini-Netflix equivalent. It provides a stage to Jerusalem’s artists whilst theaters are closed. The videos are free on the project's website and projected on buildings from 8pm to midnight.
The eighth edition of the Jerusalem Writers Festival (May 10-13) was completely digital. It gave literature lovers across the world a chance to catch up with some of their favorite writers from the comfort of their own homes. Subjects included suspense fiction during the coronavirus crisis.
The Israel Antiquities Authority held the first international conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls from 17-20 May. Over 36 Israeli and international University scholars shared on-line new research and discoveries. Scholars have reconstructed some 950 of the 2000-year-old manuscripts.
Some 20 national parks and nature reserves all over Israel are now open (for example the ancient Dead Sea fortress of Masada). Tickets must be bought on-line in advance. Meanwhile, an initiative from Olim Mitayalim connects new immigrants to tour guides for special Israel tours.
65 players from 10 countries recently competed in an on-line chess tournament. In one match, one team full of Israelis competed against one with players from Syria, Tunisia, and Algeria. It is another sign of warming ties in the Middle East, especially in sport.
Israel's cycling team “Start-Up Nation” is the first in the world to return to training for the Tour de France race that is scheduled to begin on August 29th. If the event goes ahead, it will be the first time an Israeli team has raced in the Tour de France.
Israelis were not allowed to light traditional bonfires on Lag B’Omer (33rd day of the Omer), but the Tel Aviv sky was lit up by 36 illuminated drones. They were synchronized to display images of a bonfire, bows and arrows, the Hebrew for the number 33, Sameach (joy) and more.