With a population drawn from more than one hundred countries on six continents, Israeli society is rich in cultural diversity and artistic creativity. The arts are actively encouraged and supported by the government. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performs throughout the country and frequently tours abroad. The Jerusalem Symphony, an orchestra associated with the Israel Broadcasting Authority, also tours frequently as do other musical ensembles. Almost every municipality has a chamber orchestra or ensemble, many boasting the talents of gifted performers arrived in the 1990s from the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Folk dancing, which draws upon the cultural heritage of many immigrant groups, is very popular. Israel also has several professional ballet and modern dance companies. There is great public interest in the theatre; the repertoire covers the entire range of classical and contemporary drama in translation, as well as plays by Israeli authors.
Of the three major repertory companies, the most famous, Habimah, was founded in 1917.
Arts and media
Active artist colonies thrive in Safed, Jaffa, and Ein Hod, and Israeli painters and sculptors exhibit and sell their works worldwide.
Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem have excellent art museums, and many towns and kibbutzim have smaller high-quality museums. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem houses the Dead Sea Scrolls along with an extensive collection of Jewish religious and folk art. The Museum of the Diaspora is located on the campus of Tel Aviv University.
Israelis are avid newspaper readers. Israeli papers have an average daily circulation of 600,000 copies. Major daily papers are in Hebrew; others are in Arabic, English, French, Polish, Yiddish, Russian, Hungarian, and German