December 22 ,2008 WNEW8-12-KKLonIsraelMap-eng
KKL-JNF on the Map of Israel
At the new “On the Map: The Map of Israel as Illustration, Artwork and Icon” exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, there are various items that show the map of the Land of Israel, such as the KKL-JNF Blue Box, tin cookie cans, and others. To quote the museum’s exhibition brochure: “The map of the Land of Israel on the KKL-JNF Blue Box was, since its first appearance during the 1920’s, a conceptual image of the national space, which served as a tool for fundraising and structuring Zionist awareness. The box became an icon, together with the blue and white map of Israel.” The Internet is of course part of the experience. At the exhibition, visitors can play an interactive game called “Land-City” that was developed by the KKL-JNF Education Division and can be found at “Green Window”, KKL-JNF’s website for youth. Click for the Hebrew game: http://www.greenwin.kkl.org.il/contests/Erez_Ir_game030406.swf Orna Granot, exhibition curator and director of the museum’s Youth Wing, thanked KKL-JNF for its collaboration and told us about the visitors to the exhibition: “I would like to thank you very much for making it possible for children visiting the exhibition to play the computer game you developed. The attached pictures and my daily observations show that a lot of children have thoroughly enjoyed playing the game, not to mention the adults, who
are so competitive about winning! There are a lot of KKL-JNF promotional materials at the exhibition, including illustrations and boxes, with the map of Israel on them, but the combination of materials from the past and the present-day promotional materials, like the computer game or the box that folds up out of a postcard, is simply fabulous.” To high school students visiting the exhibition, Granot said: “The exhibition is very Zionist, but there are also some subversive elements.” For example an ashtray with a map of Israel that was sold as a souvenir to tourists. “It’s hard to imagine this today, because smoking is perceived as less legitimate now,” she said. “Another example would be an eraser in the shape of a map that I bought in the street for two shekels. The more you use the eraser, the more parts of the map disappear, which, to critical eyes, might seem to have political significance.” For the high school students, however, the most subversive item at the exhibition was a pocketknife from the 1960’s with a map of Israel impressed on it. “It’s funny to think that once people walked around with a pocketknife in their bag, and today it’s considered a dangerous weapon,” said Granot, “and that’s the nice about the objects in the exhibition. Beyond just showing the geographic changes that took place in Israel, they show how we changed.” Besides the silver-coated pocketknife with the map, which was a popular Bar Mitzvah gift during the 1960’s, there is also a decorative plate from 1949 with a map alongside the flag of Israel, a Star of David and an image of the founder of modern-day Zionism, Binyamin Ze’ev Herzl, at the exhibition. ne of the most interesting exhibition categories is the illustrated story maps like the map illustrated by Shlomo Kadesh in 1952 that was distributed by KKL-JNF. The map depicts Israel as a land flowing with milk and honey, notes holy places and shows new towns and villages, flourishing thanks to weekly contributions to KKLJNF’s Blue Box.
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