Thursday, May 8, 2008

Israel remakes its image at 60

Israel remakes its image at 60 looks at the efforts underway in New York City to promote an image of Israel that is not related to the many conflicts in which Israel has been, or continues to be, involved.

As it turns 60, leaders in the Israeli and Jewish community have been involved in different projects to show Israel as modern and multicultural. The picture above shows one of the "Faces of Israel" banners being installed along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, between 47th to 96th Streets. The one below shows another of the banners. Other efforts include blogs, pages on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, lectures, film festivals and tourism ads.To see more faces of Israel, beyond those on the banners, visit "The Face of Israel Today" on the Israel21c site.

My project also includes the image of Israel that Esti Tsal sees, a volunteer with MachsomWatch (meaning Checkpoint Watch). Every week she visits the checkpoints in the West Bank to document the interactions among settlers, Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. She dreams, she said, of a day an Israeli leader will remove the soldiers back within the pre-1967 border, or the Green Line, and end what is called the occupation.

In the May 8, 2008 New York Times, Ethan Bronner reported, in his story, "At 60, Israel Redefines Roles for Itself and for Jews Elsewhere," that a conference next week in Israel involving 700 guests will look at a spectrum of issues that relate to Jews and Israel, including Israeli accomplishments, climate change, terrorism and Jerusalem's sovereignty. Israel is a melting pot of people, of ideas, history, accomplishments, failures, disillusionment and hope. And so, Israel has many images as it turns 60 today.

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