Rachel Neiman
July 16, 2018, Updated October 29, 2018

Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) is hosting a unique exhibit, “70 Years Old: Treasures of Israel`s Museums,” presenting artifacts that tell the story of the unique culture that has flourished since the establishment of the State of Israel 70 years ago.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Yoel Edelstein said at the opening of the exhibit, “We were in exile for 2,000 years, and we did not have a home to ‘decorate’ or create in. How good it is that for 70 years now we have had a home in which we can prosper and revive the creativity every day.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Yoel Edelstein at the opening of “70 Years Old: Treasures of Israel`s Museums.” Photo by Noam Rivkin Fenton/Knesset Spokesperson’s Office

To create the exhibit, curator Prof. Dana Arieli, contacted each of the recognized museums, asking for a list of objects covering the fields of history, Judaica, science, archeology, nature and ethnography.

Working with Sharon Soffer, the Knesset curator, and Nava Kessler, chair of the Association of Museums and ICOM (International Council of Museums) Israel, Arieli’s team synthesized the various works of art from dozens of museums into unique storylines.

An untitled 1978 work by Jacob Farkash (Ze’ev) from the Israel Museum of Caricature and Comics. Image: courtesy

For example, the story of the War of Independence is told through two items. The first is a piece of tent canvas from the Isaak Kaplan Old Yishuv Court Museum in the Old City of Jerusalem, on which a Jewish soldier captured by the Jordanians wrote the main events of this period. The second is Marcel Janco’s painting, ”Defenders of Jerusalem,” on loan from the Janco-Dada Museum in Ein Hod.

“Defenders of Jerusalem” by Marcel Janco, from the Janco-Dada Museum, Ein Hod

A collage of a stork created by a child in the Theresienstadt ghetto, from the Beit Terezin collection, is displayed along with a video of flying white doves by videographer Dana Levy.

These come alongside a stuffed hoopoe, the national bird and other taxidermy from Beit Shturman, the Beit Shean Valley regional museum.

Stuffed hoopoe from Beit Shturman, Beit Shean Valley regional museum. Photo by Shai Ben Efraim

Other items on display include astronaut Ilan Ramon’s training session space helmet, from the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space-Madatech in Haifa.

Astronaut Ilan Ramon’s training helmet, on loan from the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space-Madatech in Haifa, at “70 Years Old: Treasures of Israel`s Museums.” Photo by Shai Ben Efraim

There’s also the gavel used at the first Knesset session in 1949, from the Knesset collection; a basalt lintel with a seven-branched candelabrum (menorah) from the 56th century CE, courtesy of the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem; and more.

Torah crown with cannons from Alessandria, Italy (1849), from the Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art. Photo: courtesy

Among the many other museums participating in the exhibit are the Haifa National Maritime Museum, the Clore Garden of Science, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Aaronsohn House, the Nili Museum, the Israel Museum, the Ghetto Fighters’ House, Yad Vashem, the Khan Museum of Hadera, the Israel Museum of Caricature and Comics, the Tefen Open Museum, Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, the Negev Museum of Art, the Design Museum in Holon,  the Rishon LeZion Museum, the Petah Tikva Museum of Art and the Joe Alon Museum of Bedouin Culture.

The exhibit is on display at the Kedma Wing of the Knesset through August 10. Admission is free of charge.

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