Exhibition Review: 'We Also Are a Silver Tray'

'We Also are a Silver Tray,' The Palmach Museum, Tel Aviv.

January 26, 2010 23:19
1 minute read.
The unknown soldier has become an icon for the fig

unknown soldier 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of Palmach Museum)

We Also are a Silver Tray
The Palmach Museum
Tel Aviv

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The main exhibition in the Palmach Museum is an innovative arrangement of cinema docudrama and diorama designed to bring to life the experiences of the young Israeli men and women who trained and fought with the country's Palmach forces during the War of Independence.

We Also are a Silver Tray, the museum's new permanent exhibition, perhaps has less action in the script but it depends on the same docudrama and diorama techniques. And its story is most engaging for anyone interested in the history and human background of Israel's War of Independence.

Perhaps the most salient fact addressed in this new permanent exhibition is that 30,000 out of 60,000 Jewish combat soldiers during the War of Independence were Holocaust survivors. They were recruited for combat in the midst of the process of immigration and absorption. Around 1,400 were killed in combat.

As the guide explained, this story is not limited to the Palmach, but relates to the birth and development of the entire IDF.

The main section of the exhibition is a long cinema docudrama featuring young Holocaust survivors in period costumes discussing the issues that mattered to them at the time, including living arrangements and learning Hebrew. Other young people in Palmach dress also play roles in this cinema production. The camera is angled so that the actors could almost have been playing their parts live on stage.

The exposure to this rare chapter of Israeli history in the exhibition is remarkable. There's no question why most of the visitors around me when I reviewed the new show were Israeli high school students just before recruitment into the IDF.

Yonatan Silverman is a professional Hebrew to English translator in Tel Aviv. He is the author of FOR THE WORLD TO SEE: THE LIFE OF MARGARET BOURKE WHITE, NY 1983. He is also the editor and publisher of an electronic mail newsletter called 'SARTABA.'

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