jerusalem, israel

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design was established in 1906 by sculptor Boris Schatz and offers both bachelor and master degrees. It is Israel’s leading academy of art and design and one of the most prestigious art schools in the world. Bezalel prides itself on being at the epicenter of Israel’s cultural discourse and art scene and instrumental in shaping the cultural identity of the country. 

Bezalel offers a broad range of focuses including ceramics, jewelry, glass, sculpture, photography, and digital technology (used in industrial design, animation, visual communications, and video art). Degree-seeking students receive a practical education as well as an intellectual foundation in arts and design, history, literature, philosophy, cultural studies, sociology, and science. For more information about the school, visit the Bezalel website.

About Jerusalem

Jerusalem is the capital and largest city in Israel, and is home to over 763,000 people. Arabic, Hebrew and English are all spoken here. The city is located in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean Sea and the northern edge of the Dead Sea. The city enjoys a Mediterranean climate characterized by hot, dry summers and colder, wet winters. 

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, and throughout the city visitors will find ancient archeological sites standing alongside modern buildings. Jerusalem is truly a multi-cultural center home to people from a wide variety of different faiths, ethnic groups, and traditions. Many people from different religions believe Jerusalem to be the holiest city in the world, and the place where ancient faiths intersect. 

The Old City, surrounded by a wall, is at the heart of Jerusalem. Inside the wall there are four quarters (Muslim, Jewish, Armenian, and Christian). People of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faiths revere several holy sites found within the Old City: the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Beyond the religious sites of the Old City, you will be able to explore ethnic restaurants, charming neighborhoods, a thriving art scene, and museums. 

Israel has undergone a tumultuous history. Currently the status of Jerusalem is considered by many to be at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Due to the on-going conflict and security factors, Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip have been placed on the U.S. State Department’s Travel Warning list. Since 2003, all travel into Gaza by U.S. citizens has been prohibited. American citizens are encouraged to exercise caution around restaurants, business, and other places associated with U.S. interests and/or locations near U.S. official buildings such as U.S. Embassies or Consulates. The State Department also urges American citizens to remain vigilant throughout Jerusalem, especially within the downtown areas of West Jerusalem and the city center. For more information regarding the travel warning visit the U.S. State Department website.

Fields of Study

Bezalel has the following undergraduate departments: Fine Art (including painting, sculpture, and printmaking), Screen-Based Arts (animation and video/new media), Photography, Industrial Design, Ceramics and Glass Design, Visual Communications, Jewelry, and Fashion Architecture. Bezalel also has a History and Theory Department; however, only exchange students who speak Hebrew at an advanced level are eligible for these classes. Exchange students generally use a shared studio space, and the type of space depends on the department.

Language Classes

International exchange students are enrolled in classes with degree students as well as international students. The classes are taught primarily in Hebrew, and language classes are offered at an additional cost. An intensive Hebrew course for beginners is offered before the start of each semester. The course is either one week (about $100) or two weeks (about $200). If enough students are interested in continuing, Bezalel offers a course that runs through the semester. The cost of this course varies with the number of meetings and the number of students registered.

Term Dates

Bezalel’s fall semester begins mid- to late October and runs until the end of January. The spring semester begins mid-February and runs until the end of June.

Deadlines to apply - April 1 for the fall semester, September 20 for the spring semester

Housing Overview

Student housing is available at Bezalel at a cost of $400 to $600 per month. Students interested in non-student housing often use or Bezalel also sends out notices to incoming students regarding fellow students who are interested in renting out their rooms (usually while they are on exchange themselves). The cost of an apartment in Jerusalem varies, but usually students can find a place between $300-$600 per month.

Application Requirements

SFAI students who wish to apply to the Academy of Fine Arts are required to send the following:

-SFAI Study Abroad Application
-Bezalel Application
-Recommendations from the Department Chair plus one additional faculty member. Download the recommendation form.
-Official SFAI academic transcript
-3 passport photos
-Small portfolio between 10-15 works for the photography student and between 6-10 for the film student
-Insurance statement