Wednesday, October 08, 2008

THE ISRAEL MUSEUM is opening an exhibit of historical documents from all periods pertaining to the history of Israel:
Rare Historical Documents from Israel's Near and Distant Past on Display for First Time


JERUSALEM.- In collaboration with Israel’s State Archives, the Israel Museum presents approximately one hundred original documents from the history of the people and State of Israel, the majority in first-time public display. Organized in celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary, Blue and White Pages: Documenting the History of Israel offers a thematic presentation which commemorates the milestone events of Israel’s statehood through historically key documents, highlighting founding institutions, legal principles and central personalities – displayed alongside ancient artifacts and texts from the Israel Museum’s holdings which resonate meaningfully with their counterparts from modern times.

Blue and White Pages is culled from millions of documents housed in the State Archives’ collection, with the goal of exploring major themes related to the founding of Israel and its national identity. Exhibition highlights include: Israel’s original Declaration of Independence, together with related documents; peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan; and also, in its first public display, the diary of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, which miraculously survived the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster in 2003 and underwent meticulous restoration in the Israel Museum’s laboratories. The exhibition is on view from October 10, 2008, through February 7, 2009.


Echoes of the Past
Integrated throughout the exhibition are artifacts from the Israel Museum's holdings commemorating historic events from ancient times. The letters of Lachish (c. 589 BCE) describe the city under seige before it succumbed to the conquest of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple. A letter from the 2nd century CE, written by Shimon Bar Kochba, the famed leader of the Second Jewish Revolt against Hadrian’s Roman legions, requests the supply of lulavim (palm branches) and etrogim (citrus fruit) for the rebel forces for use in celebrating the Sukkot holiday. These documents stimulate moving echoes between Israel’s ancient and modern histories, giving all the more meaning to the modern state’s existence today on the site of the ancient Land of Israel.