Craftsmanship

Traditional craftsmanship concerns mainly the skills and knowledge involved in craftsmanship and the craft products. Safeguarding attempts are concentrated on encouraging artisans to continue to produce craft and to pass their skills and knowledge onto others, particularly within their own communities.

There are numerous expressions of traditional craftsmanship: tools; clothing and jewellery; costumes and props for festivals and performing arts;  decorative art and ritual objects; musical instruments and household utensils, and toys, both for amusement and education. 

The goal of safeguarding, is to ensure that the knowledge and skills associated with traditional artisany are passed on to future generations so that crafts can continue to be produced within their communities, providing livelihoods to theirmakers and reflecting creativity. Many craft traditions have age-old systems of instruction and apprenticeship. 

Local, traditional markets for craft products can be reinforced, while at the same time creating new ones. Many people around the world enjoy handmade objects that are imbued with the accumulated knowledge and cultural values of the craftspeople.

As technology and globalization advance, dozens of traditional crafts jobs are fighting to survive. This world has dramatically changed, when international products entered in the israeli market and the international online business further changed the industry. 

A large variety of crafts is produced in the State of Israel, ranging from the production of objects which fulfil a functional role in religious ritual or everyday life to items which serve a purely decorative purpose. As in all major tourist destinations around the world, many of the craft works produced in Israel are aimed at the overseas visitor.


The crafts heritage of the Jewish people is particularly strong. According to the teachings of the Talmud it is not enough to obey the commandments; one should also beautify the ritual with pieces of art. For this reason Israel has become known for its production of Judaica such as menorot, mezuzot, kippot and other ritual items, superbly-crafted in precious metals and sold in specialist jewelry stores in every centre of population. 

During the early years of the British Mandate period Israeli metal jewelry became strongly identified with that of the Yemenite community. Since the 1930s there was the increasing influence of European schools . The foundations of modern ceramic production were laid during the 1930s and 1940s with the influx of a wave of German potters, who set up studios in various cities. Since that time clay has been used in sculpture and in ceramic murals, as well as performing an important decorative function in urban society. Leading ceramicists include Lidia Zavadsky, Hilda Merom, Magdalena Hefetz, Nora Kochavi, Naomi Bitter, Maud Friedland and Meira Unna.

Other important crafts produced amongst Israel's Jewish communities include weaving and textile production, woodwork and leatherwork. Strong traditions of glassware, ethnic embroidery, basketware and olive-wood carving are preserved amongst Israel's Arab communities.


All of these craft traditions are represented at the commercially-run Khuztot Hayotzer International Arts and Crafts Fair, which takes place outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem every August.

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