Israel-Hezbollah War

A view of the July-August 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war from an Israeli living in Haifa (under Katyusha rocket attack)- send personal comments to david2@lisbona.com

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Country closed for art show


A visitor to Israel who hasn't been here for a couple of years would find a huge surprise when arriving at the Terminal 1 building of Israel's Ben-Gurion airport. For over 30 years that terminal was the almost only gateway between Israel and the outside world.

For the first 31 years of Israel's statehood, its existence was not recognised by any of its neigbours - Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria or Lebanon - so the one national airport (Ben Gurion) and its one terminal building (now called Terminal 1) had enormous psychological significance as the one way to enter or leave Israel (except by boat). In the 1990's a second terminal building (2) was opened for internal and charter flights and in November 2004 a brand new terminal building was inaugurated and the old one (Terminal 1) that we had used for 50 years was closed down.

Now, for the first time since then, the Terminal 1 building has been reopened temporarily for a huge and fantastic exhibition of art and design by the graduates of the famous (in Israel) Bezalel Academy of Art and Design www.bezalel.ac.il/sitee/homepage.asp and other design schools from around the world. You can get a good impression of the exhbition from a video clip by Elaad Yair http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEwY6Kum5Zg&search=bezalel accompanied by Meir Ariel's beautiful song "Terminal Luminelt" - Hebrew lyrics at http://mp3music.gpg.co.il/lyrics/167.html .

The exhibition is vast and varied and the location in a place I visited at least 300 times as an airline passenger (you can still see the planes taking off and landing) is mind blowing. Irit, Tami, Einat and I visited yesterday afternoon. The scope of the exhibition reminds me almost of the Venice Biennale. There are excellent photos of some of the exhibits at http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-meir/sets/72157594207725972/ and the exhibition closes next Tuesday 8/8.

Why am I writing about an art show on a war blog while Israeli and Lebanese civilians and solders are being killed? Because these are the stark contrasts of life. Just 2 hours from death and destruction there can be beauty and art, and I'm happy that Israelis can see this wonderful exhibition even in the middle of a war.The talent and creativity of Israeli art students, Jewish and Arab, is truly inspiring, and a sign that Israeli vitality will prevail.

I am slowly getting used to the surrealism of ordinary life next to the images of war but here was a new dimension to surrealism. The country is symbolically closed because the airport terminal has been taken over for art. Suddenly an airport, symbolising movement and transition, has been transformed into a place for inspiration. Suddenly the rush of daily life stops for beauty. There is a God.

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