A major new exhibition of Jewish art and artifacts, including one of the Dead Sea scrolls, opened to the public on Friday. It's the first time the scroll goes on display outside Israel.
"The New Hebrews, 100 years of art in Israel" was been organized by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem at Berlin's Martin Gropius Bau exhibition hall to mark 40 years of diplomatic ties between Israel and what was then West Germany.
The 3.6-meter-long (12-foot-long) Temple Scroll, which is being shown outside Israel for the first time, is one of the longest biblical texts found since the 1940s. It is estimated to be about 2,120 years old.
Bedouins discovered it in 1956 in the Judea Desert of the Qumran region, in caves overlooking the Dead Sea. It later disappeared and was recovered by Israel's secret service in 1967.
Israel's Mona Lisa
Snyder added it was appropriate to exhibit the scroll among artworks because of the importance of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls for contemporary Israeli culture.
100 years of art
The show includes paintings, photographs, installations, architectural models and videos from over 130 artists. The oldest works date from 1906.
The Holocaust, however, plays a relatively minor role in the exhibition because the subject was for a long time taboo in Israel, the exhibition's curator, Doreet LeVitte Harten, said.
An unidentified man photographs two paintings by Israeli artist Gal Weinstein that depict the dead sons Uday (left) and Qusay of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein
The 1961 trial of top Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was the trigger for Israelis to begin discussing their experiences during World War II, she added.
A true miracle
Attending the official opening with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom Thursday night, German Interior Minster Otto Schily said the exhibition clearly showed the significance of the Holocaust for Israel's creative culture.
"It truly is a miracle that we may speak of friendship between Germany and Israel despite the millions of murdered Jews," he said.
The exhibition is open Wednesdays through Mondays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and runs until Sept. 5, 2005.