The ninth annual International Festival of Light starts June 28 in the courtyards and alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City, with some new twists this year.

For the first time in the festival’s history, children and adults will be able to alter the appearance of many installations.

For example, hopping over pools of light at Jen Levin’s “The Pool” installation will affect the exhibit’s colors and appearance.

The Pool, an installation by American artist Jen Levin at the 2017 Jerusalem Light Festival. Photo: courtesy

The “HeartBeat” installation by GNI Projects in the UK encourages visitors to complete a circuit of love or friendship by joining hands in front of the sculpture to reveal a pulsing symbol of a heart. Once the connection is lost, the heart breaks into fragments again.

And then there’s “Intruders” by Australia’s Amanda Parer, whose six giant huggable light bunnies invite kids, Alice in Wonderland-like, to follow them through the festival.

“Intruders” by Amanda Parer. Photo: courtesy

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification, a spectacular audiovisual display will light up the walls of the Old City. And children hospitalized in Jerusalem will paint pictures to be projected on the Old City walls with the most powerful slide projector in the world. The kids will be able to see their creations via live streaming.

HeartBeat by GNI Projects, UK. Photo: courtesy

Running through July 6, the festival features displays such as a musical fire-juggling act; a “Love and Colors” performance by Nissan Nativ Academy for Music and Dance; seven unique light installations by students at Bezalel Academy of Art & Design; and a Turkish light artist’s translation of music and traditional dances into an amazing light show.

Light artists from Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, the United States, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Austria, China, Germany, the UK and Hungary will be exhibiting along with Israeli artists.

Admission to the Light Festival is free. It’s open every night except Friday between 8 and 11pm (Saturday night until midnight).