The Knesset Education Committee on Tuesday held the inauguration of “Jerusalem Now & Forever,” a photo exhibition celebrating the 50th year of the reunification of Jerusalem. The exhibition features photos from the renowned “Photographer of Jerusalem,” Sharon Gabay, who captured the beauty, diversity and tolerance of the Holy City. The images are printed on glass, representing the fragility of the holy city in the reality of today’s Middle East.
The images will be displayed at the Knesset over the next two weeks, and then travel around the world in 2017, providing people everywhere with the opportunity to celebrate 50 years of a unified Jerusalem. It will make stops in 50 global cities, landing finally in NY City.
The project is an initiative of Israel’s grassroots Zionist movement, Im Tirtzu, which teamed up with Sharon Gabay to reveal the beauty of Jerusalem to the world. According to Im Tirtzu, the exhibition will serve not only as a tribute to the City, but be an answer to those who would use the 50th year of Jerusalem’s redemption to attack the State of Israel.
MKs Yehuda Glick (Likud), Ilan Gilon (Meretz), Yakov Margi (Shas), Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid), Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Camp), Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu), Meirav Ben-Ari (Kulanu), and Benny Begin (Likud) attended the Tuesday opening.
MK Glick, who had invited the exhibition to the Knesset, delivered the opening remarks, saying, “A picture, as is known, is worth a thousand words. These pictures deliver a clear message that Jerusalem is a beautiful city, alive and well; a city in which millions of residents of different colors and beliefs live in harmony. Jerusalem at its essence, and as evidenced by its name, is a city of peace. In the words of the Prophet Isaiah, ‘for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.’”
Sharon Gabay said, “There are many people here who see the photos and are surprised. I am not surprised: whoever would take a camera and walk around the city – this is what he would see. When they talk about Jerusalem in the news, we only see wars, checkpoints, fire and smoke. But I want to photograph the truth, and the truth is that Jerusalem is a pluralistic city that accepts everyone.”
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg talked about the deep connection between the Jewish People and Jerusalem: “The Jewish nation is the only nation in history that under the wedding canopy makes a declaration to remember their eternal capital. ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem [let my right hand forget her cunning]’ is not just a territorial promise, but part of the very essence of the nation. Displaying this exhibition throughout the world will enable the Jewish People to experience the joy of Jerusalem.”
Education Committee Chairman MK Yakov Margi also gave his blessings to the exhibition, which “expresses the message of Jerusalem: coexistence and peace. This is an exhibition that needs to travel the country and the world, and go to places that only receive a very selective Israeli experience.”