Israel Museums Guide

There are over 200 museums in Israel, but the largest, and most important is the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. This impressive museum covers diverse topics from world-class art and archaeology to Jewish Art and Life. It is also home to the Shrine of the Book, a domed structure housing the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of the best museums in Jerusalem include the Tower of David Museum, the Museum for Islamic Art, and Yad Vashem, Israel’s emotionally charged Holocaust museum. Jerusalem’s Museum on the Seam is a provocative museum that raises controversial political and social questions. 

There are several stand-out museums in Haifa like the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, and Mada Tech, Israel’s national museum of science. Museums in Tel Aviv include house museums, dedicated to former occupants such as Ben Gurion House, the Reuven Rubin Museum, and Bialik House. Tel Aviv’s top museums include the Eretz Israel Museum and the ANU Museum of the Jewish People.

One of the country’s leading art and cultural institutions is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which holds local and international world-class artwork. Holon is a city known for its many museums like the striking Design Museum, the Israel Children’s Museum, and the Israel Cartoon Museum. For home-grown artwork visit the Ein Hod artists’ village or the Negev Museum of Art in Beér Sheva.

Top 10 Israeli Museums

1. Israel Museum, Jerusalem This is the country’s national museum and is also the largest museum in the country. Here you’ll find exhibition halls focusing on a wide range of subjects, genres and medium. Some of the museum highlights include the children’s wing, fine arts and archeology. Other attractions within the museum grounds are the Art Garden and a model of the Old City of Jerusalem in 66CE during the Second Temple Period. Another highlight is an ancient female figurine which is thought to be the world’s oldest art work. On the museum grounds is the uniquely shaped Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls can be seen.2. L.A. Mayer Memorial Institute for Islamic Art, JerusalemIslamic ArtHere you can see examples of Islamic pottery, painted ceramic tiles, glassware, weaponry, jewelry, religious artifacts and traditional cultural objects. The museum is named after a former scholar of Islamic art at the Hebrew University. The artifacts come from across the globe and represent several historic periods from the 7th to the 19th century. Each exhibition hall is according to the historic Muslim dynasty and the geological location they include the Umayyad Caliphs and the Ottoman period. One of the most important collections in the museum is of rare antique clocks and watches. The museum holds exhibits of art by contemporary Arab artists.3. Madatech, HaifaChildren and adults alike will enjoy this interactive museum where you can touch and play with the exhibits and try your hand at various experiments to prove scientific laws. There is a section for toddlers where they can play and learn. The exhibits cover green energy, flight, chemistry, the mysteries of light, scientific engineering, visual deceptions and puzzles and games. There is a 4D cinema where the wonder of science is revealed further through films about the solar system and other subjects.4.Tel-Aviv Museum of Art Tel-AvivMuseum of Art Tel-AvivTel-Aviv Museum of ArtThis museum covers a wide range of genres and historic periods but the emphasis is on modern art especially Israeli and European contemporary art. There is an impressive collection of impressionist and post impressionist art. There are collections of Old Masters, photography, prints and drawings and architecture and design. Among the highlights are works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Gutman, Marc Chagall, Pissarro, Kandinsky and Pollock. The museum is also known as a venue for performances, events and temporary exhibitions.5. Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum, JerusalemThis award winning museum uses multimedia, historic video footage, authentic artifacts, documents and art to tell the story of the Holocaust. The museum takes the form of an elongated triangular shaped building which takes visitors chronologically through the events of World War Two. At the end of the museum the building opens up to a view over the hills of Jerusalem. Other sites on the museum grounds include the path of the righteous commemorating righteous gentiles and a special memorial to the children who died in the Holocaust. One of the most moving exhibits of the museum is the Hall of Names, a memorial to all the Jews who died in the Holocaust, it is a circular hall with a cone shaped ten meter high center displaying 600 photos and pages of testimony.6. Design Museum HolonThis relatively new museum which opened in 2010 has quickly become one of the country’s leading museums. This is a forward looking museum focused on modern culture and contemporary design. There are temporary exhibitions as well as permanent collections which display design objects from around the world. There is an Experience Archive which is an interactive exhibit used for research. On display are furnishings, wall art, textiles and object d’art. The unique architecture of the museum building, designed by Ron Arad, is an attraction in itself.Design Museum Holon7. Children’s Museum HolonA must-see attraction if you are traveling with children. A visit to the museum must be booked in advance and there are exhibits for different age groups and each follows a specific theme. The most famous of the exhibits here is the Dialogue in the Dark where blind guides take groups of visitors through a completely dark exhibit. The visitors experience the museum as a visually impaired person would, thus heightening their use of the other senses. The Invitation to Silence is an experience where a deaf guide takes visitors through a series of exhibits while they wear headphones blocking out all sound. Once again the exhibit opens visitors up to a new sensory experience.8. Eretz Israel Museum (Land of Israel Museum), Tel-AvivThis museum is home to several separate museums as well as a planetarium. The multi-disciplinary museum exhibits all relate in some way to the Land of Israel and its culture and history. Folklore, Judaica, ethnography, the Israeli postal service and traditional crafts are on display. Take into account that the various sections of the museum are spread over a large area and to move from one to the other you need to leave the air-conditioned halls and walk under the hot sun. There are also outdoor exhibits like the Crafts Arcade where a number of antique working tools are set up in recreated workshops such as a cobbler, tanner and cooper.9. Tower of David Museum, JerusalemHoused within the Tower of David’s medieval guardrooms, an iconic symbol of Jerusalem’s Old City, this museum presents the city’s history in chronological order highlighting the most significant events. There is a film outlining Jerusalem’s history and exhibition rooms covering the Canaanite Period, 1st and 2nd Temple Periods and the Roman Period. Apart from the exhibits on display visitors can also see a nightly Sound and Light Show where images telling the story of Israel’s history are projected on the ancient stones of the Old City.10. Tiktin Museum, HaifaTiktin MuseumThis museum is home to the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Apart from being a fascinating museum it brings to the country a totally foreign culture and offers a break from most of the Israeli museums which focus so closely on the nation’s heritage. The Japanese culture, art and traditions are presented and this is the only museum of its kind in the Middle East. There are over 7,000 works of art on display including ceramics, textiles and paintings as well as metal work and miniature carvings. Both traditional and modern Japanese art is on display.
By Petal Mashraki

Sculpture in Israel

Israel is a country packed with culture - and for art lovers, there’s an incredible amount to see, and not just in the endless museums scattered all across the country. Sculpture is not what often springs to mind when you say ‘art’ in Israel but it is a medium that’s becoming more and more prevalent.Sculpture in Ilana Goor Museum, Israel.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinWhether you’re walking in Israeli sculpture gardens in the big museums of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, exploring kibbutzim and moshavim (small settlements) in the countryside, or just traveling from place to place and stopping off randomly along the way, you’re going to see sculptures. There’s even one at Ben Gurion airport, at the arrivals gate - a figure reading a book (well, Jews are said to be the people of the book!) Let’s have a look at some of the most popular installations you can see when visiting Israel...From when can we chart the beginnings of Israeli sculpture?It’s fair to say that we can trace the beginnings of Israeli sculpture back to the founding of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in 1906. (Bezalel, according to the Hebrew Bible, was the most important artisan of his time, and, appointed by Moses, led the project to build the Ark of the Covenant). Bezalel is situated in Jerusalem, on the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University. It was founded in 1906 by Boris Schatz, a Jewish painter, and sculptor, and is Israel’s oldest educational institution. Schatz had a vision of a ‘national style’ of art that would blend traditional Jewish and Middle Eastern works with a European tradition.What is interesting is that even though Schatz himself was a sculptor, sculpture was not really considered a priority, and much more emphasis was placed on the art of painting, as well as design. Of course, at that time, there were not many sculptors in Israel. The majority of them were immigrants from Europe and their work was often a fusion of European styles with a national artistic trend that was developing in the land of Israel (and, after 1948, the State of Israel).Palmahim Beach sculptures, Israel. Photo byChen MizrachonUnsplashBoris Schatz - The Father of Israeli ArtSchatz himself was considered the Father of Israeli Art. Before arriving in Jerusalem he had studied in Paris and had learned his skill from teachers who took quite a classical approach, so unsurprisingly his own work was very much influenced by this training. Nevertheless, because he was a Zionist, his subjects were primarily Jewish. He took figures from the Bible such as Mattathias ben Johanan and created them in sculptures as a way of representing good over evil. Still, for decades to come sculpture was very much on the periphery of the curriculum. Commemorative SculptureIsrael is filled with monuments commemorating events in the history of the state - both from 1948 (when it was established) until today and before 1948. Many of these are sculptures and have been designed specifically to invoke the notion of remembrance. These sculptures are a form of visual art but what makes them different is that they have been designed to commemorate historical events - and in Israel’s case, tragic events, the most important one being the Holocaust. Sculptures exist all over the country, commemorating what was probably the greatest tragedy in the history of the Jewish people. Fountain "Zodiac Signs", Jaffa.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinSculpture at Yad VashemPerhaps one of the most moving places to witness these is at Yad Vashem, Israel’s museum to the murdered six million. Located at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, visitors can explore the extensive museum and walk through the grounds, where there are 20 outdoor sculptures that relate to remembrance and the Holocaust. These works include The Warsaw Ghetto Square, the Pillar of Heroism, and the Yad Vashem Candelabra.The Warsaw Ghetto Square - designed by Nathan Rapaport, this monument is made of two bronze reliefs on a red brick wall (symbolizing the wall of the ghetto). On the right, the deportation of Jews to the extermination camps is depicted - young, old, healthy, and sick. On the left, there is a portrayal of the Ghetto Uprising, where men and women, with rifles, stones, and guns, fought heroically against the Nazis.The Pillar of Heroism - this is a three-sided pillar, made of shining stainless steel conclave panels, the front of which bears the inscription: “To the martyrs...the ghetto fighters...the those who rebelled in the the fighters of the the soldiers in the those who saved their the courageous people who took part in the clandestine the heroes of valor and revolt …”The Yad Vashem Candelabra - this symbolic menorah was designed in 1985 by the sculptor Zohara Schatz, the first woman to ever win the Israel Prize. The six-branched aluminium candelabra represents the six million Jews killed and the piece, considered to be one of the museum’s great emblems, is at its entrance.Hall of Names in the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, Jerusalem. Photo bySnowscatonUnsplashSculpture at the Weizmann Institute, RehovotIn 1972, Danny Caravan created the monument “To the Holocaust” at the Weizmann Institute, Israel’s leading scientific institute in Rehovot, a city close to Tel Aviv. Inside a rectangular plaza (which is sunken) is a large bronze sculpture of a broken Torah scroll, balanced in a very unsound way (as if it could fall at any moment) on a white stone basis. A stream of water that flows constantly drips down a crack in the center of the base. The dripping water symbolizes the tears of those who were sent to their death. A Star of David is engraved on the Torah as well as a series of numbers - these are carved to represent the numbers tattooed onto the arms of victims of the camps. There is also an inscription of the first line of the Shema - a central prayer in the Hebrew liturgy and one said traditionally by Jews before death draws close. Sculpture at Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’EmekThe only Holocaust monument established in Israel before the creation of the state in 1948, this is a monument to the children who perished in this terrible time. Located at Kibbutz Ha’Emek, it is nestled in the Jezreel Valley, a beautiful part of northern Israel. A stone wall surrounds a small plaza and carved into the wall are four alcoves, each with sculptured figures. They movingly depict the tiny spaces in which children hid and the ways in which their parents tried to protect them.The Gate of Faithby Daniel Kafri, Jaffa, Israel. Photo byJeremy BezangeronUnsplashThe Billy Rose Sculpture Garden at Jerusalem’s Israel MuseumThe Billy Rose Art Garden, named after the New York theatrical producer and designed by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, is considered to be one of the most wonderful sculpture gardens of the 20th century. Located in Jerusalem’s world-famous Israel Museum, Noguchi began planning the garden in the early 1960s on the steep slopes of the grounds of the museum and divided it up into different sections, using walls of fieldstones. Noguchi worked with a Zen principle in mind and used materials such as water, gravel, and concrete, as well as incorporating many plants indigenous to the Middle East into his design. Completed in 1965, and set against the backdrop of an astonishing and dramatic Jerusalem landscape, visitors can wander the gardens and see works by many famous sculptures, including Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Joel Shapiro, and Menashe Kadishman.Notable pieces include the Indian artist Kapoor Anish’s ‘Turning the World Upside Down’- an hourglass-shaped reflective piece that effectively turns the world on its head. Apparently, it is meant to represent the vision of the former mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, who saw Jerusalem as a ‘merger’ of heaven and earth.Another piece that is infinitely photo-worthy (and loved by Instagrammers!) is Robert Indiana’s famous ‘Ahava’ sculpture at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Ahava, in Hebrew, means ‘love’ and is spelled out in four Hebrew letters (aleph, heh, bet, heh). Visitors can climb inside the huge steel weathered letters and pose for the camera with the Jerusalem hills in the background.Park Sculpture by Eli Ilan, Har HaBanim, Ramat Gan, Israel. Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinThe Tel Aviv Museum of Art Sculpture GardenEstablished in 1999, the Tel Aviv Museum’s sculpture garden gives visitors the opportunity to view over 30 contemporary works by sculptors both from Israel and around the world, in its permanent collection. The Lola Beer Ebner Sculpture Garden in Memory of Dolfi Ebner is a true place of peace and tranquility in busy Tel Aviv. A sunken garden, it is surrounded by eucalyptus trees and the perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv. Visitors should look out for the Tel Aviv–Yafo Mosaic, created in 1999 by Italian artist Enzo Cucchi. It forms the path linking the upper level to the lower one. Another interesting sculpture is by Israeli artist Yitzhak Danziger in 1963. Close by, in Nata’s Garden, are two other sculptures on permanent display: ‘Sisyphus and Jacob Meet by the Well’ by Sigalit Landau and ‘Wreaths’ by Erez Israeli."Mizpor Shalom" - The Ursula Malbin Sculpture Garden, HaifaSituated in Haifa, this is the first sculpture garden in Israel devoted entirely to a female artist. Here, visitors can view many of Ursula Malbin’s works, created in the last 60 years. Mitzpor Shalom (which in English means ‘Peace Park’) is close to the Bahai Gardens.Tel Aviv Museum of Art.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinThe Omer Open Museum Sculpture GardenThis sculpture garden can be found just outside of Beersheba, the getaway city to Israel’s Negev desert. Omer is a small ‘yishuv’ (a settlement created before the State of Israel was created) and on the grounds of its Open Museum visitors can see a range of artworks from the museum collection. The collection includes sculptures by the following artists: Ilan Averbuch, Shlomo Selinger, Shlomo Schwarzberg, Ofra Zimbalista, Gengiz Çekil. As well as the permanent works, the garden also features temporary sculpture exhibitions. Omer is one of three Open Museums (the other two are Tefen and Tel-Hai, in the north of Israel) and another sculpture garden - Dalton - which have all been established within industrial parks in Israel.Kibbutz Dalia Sculpture Garden, GalileeLocated in Galilee, this sculpture garden was established by kibbutz member Nathan Ezra Yenuka who wanted to focus on art and present it in a way that really represented the spirit of the community. There are 24 works to see and they are made of all kinds of material, including polyester, marble, and even local rocks. Bahai Gardens, Haifa.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinVarda Yatom Sculpture Gallery, Upper GalileeLocated in Kibbutz Sasa, in the Upper Galilee, artist Varda Yatom is considered to be one of Israel’s leading ceramic sculpture artists and has a wonderful gallery which you can visit, and meet Varda herself. The kibbutz also boasts a museum of archaeology (free entry) and panoramic views of northern Israel and Lebanon. Our tip: don’t miss their ice cream parlor - the flavors are fantastic!Sculpture Park at Mitzpe Ramon, Negev HillsThe brainchild of Ezra Orion, this sculpture park is located on the edge of the Maktesh Ramon (the Ramon Crater) which was formed over millions of years. It runs for 2 kilometers and was created in 1963 after artists from across the world were invited to arrive and create whatever piece they chose. The only condition - they had to chisel their pieces out of one large rock. Take a trip to the Negev desert, visit Mitzpe Ramon and decide for yourself what some of these weird and wacky creations represent!To explore Israeli sculpture in detail feel free to join our private tours.
By Sarah Mann

Top Haifa Museums – Six Museums in One Frame

The Haifa municipality operates six museums under the name “Six Museums in One Frame.” These are the most important and some of the most interesting museums in the city.Haifa Museum of ArtHaifa Museum of ArtThe museum’s permanent collection includes over 7,500 works of art by both local and international artists. The work represents a wide variety of artistic movements and phases in art history. Among the collection are, works on paper by Marc Chagall, Odilon Redon, Andre Masson and Chana Orloff. There are also works of digital media art and video art from the early era of this genre in the 1960s. The museum is housed in a historical building in Downtown Haifa.Tikotin Museum of Japanese ArtTikotin MuseumThis museum was established in 1959 and exhibits contemporary and traditional Japanese art. The art forms cover a broad spectrum including martial art objects, Japanese textiles, prints, modern miniatures, illustrated books, lacquer ware, masks, metal work, applied arts, Japanese porcelain, swords, traditional costume, sculptures, calligraphy and paintings. The museum building was designed to include Japanese moving paper-covered doors and a Zen garden. This is the only museum in the Middle East devoted solely to Japanese art and culture. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum holds regular temporary exhibitions like the present exhibition of Cosplay and Kimono. The museum also hosts regular lectures, workshops for children and adults as well as screenings.The National Maritime MuseumMaritime MuseumThis museum holds a number of exhibitions each focused on a different era of seamanship including a section on pirates! The museum highlights the history of shipping in the Mediterranean and Haifa’s marine history. On display are over 5,000 rare artifacts recovered from sunken ships, sub-marine archeology. Other themes include marine mythology, marine art, anchors, coins, nautical instruments, maps, model ships and the Greco-Roman era. This museum is very popular with kids and there are regular children’s activities and workshops. If this subject interests you visit the nearby Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum.Haifa City MuseumThe Haifa City Museum is housed in a historic house which was the first Templar building in Haifa in what is now the German Colony. Visitors can take a journey back in time to the establishment of Haifa al-Jadida in the 18th century by Sheikh Dahir al-Umar al-Zaydani. Follow the progress of the city as it grew into the modern, cosmopolitan city that it is today. The museum highlights the cultural and historical diversity of Haifa. The themed exhibits focus on the character of the city and its different communities. The permanent exhibition is a chronological timeline of Haifa’s history in three important periods – the Ottoman era, British Mandate and the establishment of the State of Israel. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions like the present exhibition of historic photographs entitled “Childhood in Haifa from 1930 to 1960.”Mane-Katz MuseumMane-Katz MuseumThis museum is housed in the former home of artist Mane Katz; an influential figure in the School of Paris art movement which thrived in Paris between the two world wars and included many Eastern to Central European Jewish artists. When Katz immigrated to Israel in 1957 he was already a well-known name in the art world. The city of Haifa provided Katz with a home and in exchange Katz agreed to bequeath his estate and work to the city. Here you can see art on display which shows the connection between traditional Judaism and art. Together with the work by Mane Katz there are exhibits of work by contemporary and modern artists like Chaim Sutine, Jozef Israels, Max Liebermann, Camille Pissarro and Maurycy Gottlieb. The museum also has space for temporary exhibitions and a balcony café overlooking the Haifa Bay.Hermann Struck MuseumThis museum was established in the former home of artist Hermann Struck (1876-1944), a prominent 20th-century German artist who excelled in the field of etchings and printmaking. Struck rose to fame in Germany as part of the modern art movement Berlin Secession. He was commissioned to create portraits of Nietzsche, Ibsen, Freud, Herzl, Einstein and Oscar Wilde among other leading figures. Being a passionate Zionist he signed his art with the Star of David and his Hebrew name (Chaim Aaron ben David). He concentrated on two themes – landscapes and portraits. The museum displays contemporary and temporary exhibitions in the art of printmaking as well as its permanent collection of Struck’s personal artifacts, furniture, books, paintings and prints. On display are prints, silk-screen, woodblock and works in oil. The museum’s valuable permanent collection includes approximately 500 works by Struck and his pupils, among them Max Slevogt, Lovis Corinth and Max Lieberman.Practical Information:It is possible to purchase a ticket (60 ILS) which covers all 6 of the Haifa municipal museums allowing you one-time entry to all 6 within a week.Haifa Museum of ArtWhere: 26 Shabbatai Levi Street, HaifaAdmission: 45 ILSOpen Hours: Sun-Wed 10am-4pm; Thurs 10am-7pm; Fri 10am-1pm; Sat 10am-3pmTikotin MuseumWhere: Kisch House, Hanassi Blvd, HaifaAdmission: 35 ILSOpen Hours: Sat-Thurs 10am-7pm; Fri10am-1pm.Maritime MuseumWhere: 198 Allenby Street, HaifaAdmission: 35 ILSOpen Hours: Sun-Thurs 10am-4pm; Fri 10am-1pm; Sat 10am-3pmCity MuseumWhere: 11 Ben Gurion Street, HaifaAdmission: 35 ILSOpen Hours: Sun-Wed 10am-4pm; Thurs 4pm-7pm; Fri 10am-1pm; Sat 10am-3pmMane-Katz MuseumWhere: 89 Yefe Nof Street, HaifaAdmission: 35 ILSOpen Hours: Sun-Wed 10am-4pm; Thurs 10am-7pm; Fri 10am-1pm; Sat 10am-3pmHermann Struck MuseumWhere: 23 Arlosoroff Street, HaifaAdmission: 35 ILSOpen Hours: Sun-Wed 10am-4pm; Thurs 10am-7pm; Fri 10am-1pm; Sat closed.
By Petal Mashraki

The Friends of Zion Museum

Jerusalem’s latest attraction is the Friends of Zion Museum which highlights the little known story of the role Christians played in the return of the Jewish people to their homeland, Israel. The museum focuses on the role of supporters of Israel of all faiths from around the world and throughout history. The museum tells the story of how the dream to restore the Jewish people to their historic homeland became a reality and the non-Jews who helped the Jews realize this dream. Throughout history Christian Zionists have supported the Jews in returning to their homeland sometimes through personal sacrifice. This museum shows visitors the historic moments, courageous people and significant events which have led to the establishment of the State of Israel supported by Christians. The museum uses technologically advanced interactive methods to tell its story with bold, bright and engaging displays.Friends of Zion Museum ExhibitsVisitors go through several exhibition halls each focused on different aspect of Zionism. You begin with the Land of the Promise exhibit where there is a 12 meter long topographic floor map showing the layout of the land inhabited by the twelve tribes of Israel plus the main Biblical towns. The room darkens and the walls come alive with images of modern-day Israel and aerial views of the country as a beam of light traces the aerial tour of the country on the floor map relating what we see on the screen to the Biblical-era landscape of the map.Visitors take a Time Elevator through a sound and light show up to the upper floor and the Founders Theatre where a huge wraparound screen shows the story of the covenant made between the people of Israel and God using animation, light effects, music and narration. We meet Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Prophet Ezekiel all promised the Land of Israel.The Hall of Dreamers features Professor George Bush (1796-1859), William Blackstone, the Ten Boom family and John Henry Dunant all gentiles who believed in the ancient prophecies promising Israel to the Jews. This section of the museum highlights the efforts of these leading Christian Zionists in supporting the Jewish dream.In the Hall of Visionaries we see a huge colorful mural created with hand-painted images transformed using advanced technology and incorporating motion and text upon touch. Visitors can touch the mural images of 11 heroes of Christian Zionism which triggers animation of the figure and text appears explaining a little of the heroes contribution to the Zionist efforts. The mural also incorporates Biblical quotes speaking of the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. Figures that played a significant role in Christian Zionism include Churchill, Queen Victoria and President Woodrow Wilson. In this exhibition hall there are also screens showing original black and white footage of the early Jewish settlers in Israel.In the Light in the Darkness hall we learn of the deeds of the righteous among the nations, gentiles who saved the lives of Jews during the Holocaust. The images and animations tell the story of Christian personalities in Germany, Sweden, Japan and other country who exercised extraordinary bravery and endangered their own lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. The images of war, terror and those who could not stand by idly and watch the Jews be persecuted are brought to live in these images.In the Living Figures gallery visitors can walk right up to the images of heroes and the animated image begins talking “personally” to the visitors telling of his involvement with the people of Israel. This technique uses live actors reenacting the heroes’ stories as well as archive footage. Playing in the background is the actual recording of the vote in the UN which approved the partition plan in 1947 creating Jewish and Arab states in the Land of Israel.In the last section of the museum, the Promise Theatre visitors put on 3D glasses to see a presentation of many personalities from past and present who have worked towards the dreams of Zionism.Practical Information:Visiting the FOZ Museum is only with a museum guide and visits must be booked in advance online, by email or by phone. The tour is offered in 15 languages and lasts one hour. The museum is recommended for those over 7 years old. The museum is housed in one of the first seven homes built outside the Old City walls back in 1869. The house has been fully restored and now houses the museum and a beautiful café which is open to visitors to the museum and the general public. The FOZ Café is open six days a week and serves kosher dairy cuisine.Where: 20 Yosef Rivlin Street, JerusalemOpen Hours: Sunday to Thursday 9:30am-6pm; Friday 9:30am-2pm and Saturday 10am-6pm.Admission: Adults 44ILS; children (7yrs-18yrs) 33ILS; students and Jerusalem residents 33ILS; seniors, soldiers, handicapped, school groups 22ILS.Contact: 972 (0)2 532 9400
By Petal Mashraki

A Tour to the Israel Wax Museums

Admittedly Israel is not a leader in Wax Museums, unlike most capitals of the Western world neither Jerusalem not Tel Aviv have an official Madame Tussauds. However there is a wax museum in Eilat, there was one in Tel Aviv and soon there will be a new wax museum in Israel.Eilat Wax Museum, 4 Derech Yotam, EilatEilat’s Wax Museum is located in the IMAX Complex. A combo ticket can be bought for IMAX screenings and entrance to the wax museum. The museum displays more than 150 life-size figures of famous personalities from Israel and abroad. The figures include Robert De Nero, Freddy Mercury, Beatles and Angelina Jolie. There are also figures from legends, mythology and fantasy as well as real-life oddities from the Guinness Book of Records. Well know film characters include those from Star Wars and Johnny Depp’s character from the Pirates of the Caribbean. The figures include famous scientists, musicians, pop idols, politicians and cultural icons. Among the Israeli figures there are Itzhak Rabin and Ben Gurion.Former Tel Aviv Wax Museum, Shalom TowerThe Tel Aviv Wax Museum was founded by Shai Meyer a member of the family responsible for the construction of the Peace Tower or Migdal HaShalom. For many years the Wax Museum was a major attraction in the city. In 1995 the museum closed down due to financial difficulties however some of the figures have survived and can still be seen together with an exhibition about the history of Tel Aviv on the mezzanine floor of the Shalom Tower. The figures which have survived and are in good enough condition to be on display are those of Hebrew poets Bialik, Alterman, Penn, Goldberg and Shlonsky. There is also the figure of iconic Israeli actress Hanna Rovina. The figures have been positioned around a table as if enjoying a get together at a Tel Aviv café.The original wax museum had fallen into disrepair. However this Hannuka an innovative initiative was taken when volunteers went door to door collecting unused and partially used candles to be melted down and used to repair and build wax figures for the museum. The museum is scheduled to undergo a major facelift and redesign. It will then reopen in a new location and will be on a par with other wax museums in Europe and the USA. Stay tuned for news of the opening of Israel’s new wax museum.
By Petal Mashraki

Top Science Museums in Israel

The Jewish people are known for their scientific talent with great names like Albert Einstein, Robert Aumann and Konrad Emil Bloch. So it is not surprising that Israel has several top science museum. The museums are primarily geared towards children but the exhibits have been made to appeal to the whole family.Science Museum. Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe Clore Garden of Science, RehovotThe Clore Garden of Science is located on the grounds of the famous Weizmann Institute of science. The entire museum is outdoors so in hot weather bring a hat and water. The museum is run by the Davidson Institute of Science Education. The museum is completely hands-on with displays set up where kids can do experiments to see how different laws of nature work and prove them for themselves.The garden covers 10,000m² and the interactive exhibits focus on the laws of physics, solar energy, water power, and the role natural elements play in the world. Among the exhibits are a Solar Furnace, Pipes of Pan, a Resonant Pendulum, and a wave pool where the science of waves is demonstrated. In addition to the outdoor exhibits, there is an EcoSphere, a dome-shaped greenhouse where ecological principles are demonstrated. Young high school-age guides are on hand to give brief demonstrations, explain the various exhibits and give short tours.Address: Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Sunday-Thursday 09:00-17:00, Saturday 09:00-19:00, Friday closed Family 220ILS, Children 5-18 50ILS, Adults 60ILSBloomfield Science Museum. Photo credit: © Maria MurashovaMadatech Museum, HaifaThe science museum is housed within a historic building that dates back to 1912. During WWI the building was used by the German Army as a slaughterhouse; in 1917 it became a military hospital for the Turkish Army and in 1918 came under the British. In 1923 Albert Einstein visited the building which had become the new Technion. Einstein became the president of the Technion Committee.Today the building houses Israel’s most famous science museum; there are more than 20 sections, 12 labs, 6 demonstration halls, and over 600 hands-on exhibits. Kids learn through the many games and by pressing buttons, pulling levers, and operating equipment. The exhibits are presented in themed sections so that all the energy-related exhibits are together etc. There is an outside area with more hands-on exhibits. The museum has a multi-sense 3D cinema where science-related movies are shown. The museum’s slogan is “explore, experience, discover and learn through play and fun.” There is an area for toddlers where they too can experiment in a safe play area.Address: The Israeli National Museum of Science, Technology and Space, Historic Technion Building, 25 Shmariyahu Levine St., Haifa Sunday-Wednesday 10:00-15:00, Thursday and Saturday,10:00-17:00, Friday 10:00- 13:00 Family (up to 4 people) 260ILS, Children 5-18, 65ILS, Adults 75ILSBloomfield Science Museum. Photo credit: © Katya SavinaBloomfield Science Museum, JerusalemThe museum exhibits are mostly hands-on and divided into thematic groups. There is an indoor and outdoor exhibition area. Although the themes are science-oriented there is a broader spectrum of exhibits that takes in technology, society, and art. Most of the exhibits have been created in-house in collaboration with the Hebrew University. The museum sections include Waterworks, Electricity, Discovering Levers, Games in Light and Shadow, CAPTCHA (about computers), Illusions, Flashlight in the Dark, Amusement Park, Testing and Measuring, and Water. Kids get to build apparatus and take part in regular activities. There is a Resource Center where you can read, see movies, use the Internet, and just hang out. The museum has a 3D cinema and films are an extra fee. There are daily guided tours, free talks, workshops, and science demonstrations.Address: Museum Blvd., Givat Ram, Jerusalem Sunday-Wednesday and Saturday 10:00-18:00, Thursday 16:00-22:00, Friday 10:00-16:00 Family (up to 4 people) 220ILS, Children under 5 free, All visitors over 5 years old 79ILS
By Petal Mashraki

A Coin Exhibition at the Davidson Center

Coins have always been, first and foremost, a means of payment, but they have also been used to communicate messages. We also look at coins for the evidence they provide for commercial, religious and cultural relations. The coins that found their way to Jerusalem, are testimonies to the importance of the capital as a cosmopolitan center and focus of pilgrimage. In times of peace, Jerusalem attracted visitors, traders and pilgrims of all religions. In times of war, the political and strategic importance of Jerusalem brought invading and conquering armies into the city. All these visitors also left their mark in the coin finds in Jerusalem, especially from the excavations close to the Temple Mount.This exhibition focuses on the international character of Jerusalem, and of the Temple Mount in particular, by showing a selection of hoards and isolated coins discovered during the excavations of Prof. Benjamin Mazar between 1968 and 1977. The wide geographic provenance of these coins extends from the Sasanian empire in Persia, Chartres in France and Carthage in North Africa. The coins provide exceptional insight into the relationships between different peoples, the coins they used and the value they placed in those coins.All the Roads Lead to JerusalemDuring excavations in Jerusalem, and close to the Temple Mount in particular, a large number of coins coming from distant places in the Mediterranean was found. The ten coins exhibited here represent a wide range of mints, periods and materials. Some of the coins are most unusual in our region, such as the silver drachm from Ephesos in Ionia, southwest Turkey; the gold aureus of emperor Tacitus struck in Rome and the bronze follis of the Byzantine emperor Constantine IV minted in Syracuse, Sicily. Other coins, such as Carthage or Ravenna – whose provenance might seem curious – were actually integral part of the coins in circulation during the fifth and sixth centuries CE. Some of the cities mentioned here, such as Constantinople (today Istanbul), Antioch in Syria and Alexandria in Egypt constitute the most common mints from which coins circulated in our region in the Hellenistic through the Byzantine periods. Some of these “foreign” coins also figure in the Jewish tradition. For instance, the silver sheqels and half-sheqels minted in Tyre (in Lebanon), were singled out as the ideal means of payment of the half-sheqel head tax to the Jerusalem Temple.The Sasanian Coin HoardEleven Sasanian silver drachms from the hoard are exhibited here. The hoard was discovered within a drainage channel which was part of the central sewage drain of a large public latrine, built in the Roman period and still in use during the Byzantine period. It seems that the owner lost this handful of coins around 535 CE, at the time he was in the public latrine. The coins in the hoard date from the period between governor Peroz (463-484 CE) to the days of king Khusro I (531-535 CE). The coins come from several cities in Iran, among them Shiraz, Kerman, Ray, Hamadan (Echbatana) and Merv. These types of coins are characteristic of the Sasanian rulers in Iran. On one side is the bust of the king and an inscription in Pahlevic; on the other side is an altar flanked by two priests. Depicted is a sacrifice scene, deriving from Zoroastrianism. Sasanian coins minted before the Persian conquest of 614 CE are quite rare finds in Israel. The coins are evidence of the peaceful relations between the Byzantine empire and the Sasanian kingdom during that period.The Fatimid Coin HoardThree gold Fatimid hoards were discovered in 1968-1969. The hoard exhibited here includes fifty-one gold coins, dinars and quarter-dinars, dated from 982 to 1095 CE. Most of the coins were minted during the last fifteen years of reign of caliph Al-Mustansir (1036-1094 CE). This ruler is known as the one who brought the Fatimid dynasty to its zenith. The high gold content of the coins gives evidence to the dynasty’s prosperous economy. The design on most of the coins is a central “bull’s eye” with three concentric circles of legends around it. The majority of the coins were struck in Egypt and North Africa, in Misr (Cairo, Fustat), Alexandria, al-Mansuriyya and Mahadiyya; a number of coins were struck in Syria-Tripolis, Akko and Tyre. One dinar is not Fatimid but Almoravid, from the city of Sijilmasa in Algeria.The latest coins in the hoardare dated to year 1095 CE, when Jerusalem was under Seljuk rule. Therefore, it seems likely that the coins were brought to the city when the Fatimids reconquered Jerusalem in 1098 CE. A short time later, in 1099 CE, the city was conquered by the Crusaders. Presumably, coins were hidden in this occasion. The uniformity of the hoard, and the historical circumstances, suggest that this is an emergency hoard, abruptly concealed upon the Crusader’s arrival and never recovered by its owner.A Hoard of Feudal French Coins and a Papal BullaA hoard of French coins and a lead papal bulla dated to the Crusader period were uncovered during the excavations in 1968 and 1971. Both exceptional finds are dated to the twelfth century CE and were found in a sector that was under the control of the Order of the Templars. The hoard was discovered in a drain channel; the bulla within a room surrounded by walls of the Crusader period. The hoard yields seventy-five debased silver thin deniers, seventy-four struck in the city of Chartres, and one minted in Blois. The coins are anonymous, most probably dated to the time of count Thibaut V (1152-1191). All the Chartrain coins belong to the same type, depicting a stylized head of a king on the obverse, and on the reverse a Maltese cross surrounded by the inscription: +CARTIS CIVITAS.Similar hoards were discovered in France and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, along the routes used by the Crusaders. Due to the chronic lack of local coinage in the Latin Kingdom’s treasure, European currencies flood the East and circulated alongside with the local coins. The uniformity of the hoard suggests that the coins arrived in Jerusalem from Europe already as a single group, most probably belonging to a pilgrim or knight who deposited them for safekeeping with the Templars. The lead bulla, naming Pope Alexander III (1159-1181 CE) was impressed in Rome. Lead bullas were used as official seals on important documents, and were frequently utilized by officials of the Latin Kingdom. While several bullas have been discovered in our region, papal bullas are extremely rare. This is the first bulla of its type ever discovered in an archaeological excavation. The name of the pope is inscribed on one side; the portraits of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, fathers of the Christian church, appear on the other side, together with abbreviations of their names: S(ANCTVS) PA(VLVS) S(ANCTVS) PE(TRVS). The appearance of this bulla in Jerusalem is evidence to the close relations existing between Rome and the Holy City during the tenure of Alexander III. His papacy is characterized by a large number of edicts issued to the Latin Kingdom in general and the Order of the Templars in particular. It seems most likely that the hoard and the bulla were among the possessions which the Templars abandoned when the city of Jerusalem capitulated to Saladin in 1187.Acknowledgments:Curators: Gabriela Bijovsky, Dr. Hava Katz, Israel Antiquities AuthorityDesign and Production: Studio Avidani, JerusalemProject manager: Gad KlierStudio photography: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities AuthoritField photography: Israel Antiquities Authority; Dr. Eilat MazarCoin illustrations: Pnina AradArabic translation: Fawzi IbrahimEditing: Dr. Zvi Gal, Dr. Donald T. Ariel, Israel Antiquities AuthorityCoin Loans: Israel Antiquities Authority
By Petal Mashraki
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