The demand for the “shadow” did not surprise me. I expected more from the cultural people The column of Hannah Beit Halachmi

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I was not surprised by the demand of the group of thugs of “The Shadow” to remove the work of the artist Yaakov Mishori from the medical center. Those who did surprise, and to their detriment, are the center’s management, the artistic establishment and the cultural figures

Posted on: 13.8.20 16:15

By: Hannah Beit Halachmi

The artist Yaakov Mishori is the second generation of the Holocaust. The experience of Kristallnacht, which his mother experienced as a child, is etched in his soul. A Jewish girl, standing in great fear in the face of a wave of murderous hatred, calling “Death to the Jews.” This reading, was assimilated into his artistic work. I once heard, years ago, Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer, talking about the ongoing trauma of the Holocaust, beyond the years of victims’ lives: the one that passes through the emotional and family DNA of children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Eventually, Mishori’s mother immigrated to Israel and raised a family in the State of Israel – Zionist fulfillment at its best. Her son’s art, for the visual reversal it causes to call “Death to the Jews,” is her personal victory over the murderous anti-Semitism of the Nazi tyrant. This is a topic that can be explained, that has deep meaning and context. Or at least he had some, until he met in the ignorant cultural failure of Israel 2020.

In the Israel of 2020, ironically there are also “brown shirts”: gangs of hateful, racist, hateful Jews who do not sit in the narrow box of violent ignorance that characterizes them. These, encountered the creation of planes and set out to do what they know: terrorism. They have no understanding of art, empathy for the artist, the Holocaust, its survivors, they are ignorant, ignorant, violent, terror rulers, stupid and scary. Yes, scary. What is terrible about this whole thing is that the medical center where the piece was placed, got scared and removed it.

In an article by Naama Riva in Haaretz, she quotes the post of “The Shadow”, which garnered more than 14,000 likes and about 8,000 shares, including hundreds of heated appeals to the medical center where the work was hung: “A man came across a picture… he rubbed his eyes and did not believe what he was The shocked man approached one of the senior workers at the place and asked her about the picture; the worker answered him excitedly: “This amazing art has been hanging here for a year. : ‘Are you aware that the death of the Jews is written on it?’ The employee replied angrily: ‘Yes, it’s freedom of expression, it’s art!’… For those who do not see the caption that will turn the picture, they hung upside down on purpose!

A lot of things worry me in this story. As a whole, I have no expectations of the hollow thug gangs of the right to understand art, Zionism, Judaism, nationalism, post-trauma of second and third generations, solidarity or culture. I have such an expectation from the medical center, whose response is shameful to me three times: once, because the quoted response of the “senior” at the medical center (if indeed said), it seems that she also did not understand why and why such a work on a wall in Israel saturated with Holocaust trauma And heroism. Second time, in removing the work instead of standing by the artist and mediating through an information sign the deep meaning of the work for those who can not understand alone, and a third time – the poor response of the center for removing the work (search on Facebook).

Another worrying line of comments is that of all the alleged cultural figures among my friends, who argued that such a “controversial” work has no place in a medical center, but only in a museum. Why? What is controversial in this work? Why can a real work, which is not from the genre of the “crying child” or a flat graphic aesthetic, not enrich the public space as happens in the whole cultural world? What closes with you? The reference to the expression “death to the Jews” in the work as a simplification, and not as a post-traumatic Jewish Zionist demand, is an insulting reference to the Jewish genius, which is highly questionable here. In the absence of context, there is no cultural intellectuality.

And last is the salient response in its absence: that of the artistic establishment. Apart from a single post I came across, by the artist Michal Heiman, asking for the response of the museum directors, heads of the artistic educational institutions, etc., I did not see any action taken in this matter. What are they afraid of? Any art that comes out of them meaningless, to a poor mirror image of the shadow is wrapped in a bit of aesthetic talent.The minimum expected of artists, and what makes them trained as artists, is a courageous critical look at the society in which they live.

What discourages me in this whole story, is the conclusion about the thinning of Israeli culture and society. I can only thank both the thugs and the crooks, who at least brought the work to the attention of the entire Israeli public. This is also a consolation.

Photo by Ido Rimon

Hannah Beit Halachmi is a strategic consultant, community and social activist, facilitator and coach


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