The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
PARIS – Diplomats, French officials, actors, artists and leaders of the Jewish community gathered at the Carousel du Louvre for the launching of an unusual exhibit, titled “Open a Door to Israel.”
The exhibit is composed of nine doors, each in a different color and design, all opening into huge interactive screens.
“This exhibit is the fruit of two and a half years of work and an investment of NIS 3.5 million, as a joint venture of our ministry and the Ministry for Strategic Affairs,” Joel Lion, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Public and Academic Affairs Department, explained to The Jerusalem Post
“The idea was to bring Israel, to bring Israelis to the world, for people to view the Israeli experience. When the idea first came up, we defined nine values; nine characteristics of Israeli society, and each of these elements became a door to be opened.”
Lion, the proud father of the exhibit, opens a blue door – the Israeli family door.
Inside, punching a button will shift screens among different Israeli families. The Zarum family, for instance, was filmed on a Friday evening, with all its members gathering around the table for a traditional Sabbath diner. Another short video shows a typical Israeli fridge, full with local groceries such as humus, olives and cottage cheese.
Lion opens a red door for me. Here, I can play DJ with a real, small-size audio board connected to shifting screens, which are adapted to different sorts of Israeli music.
One video clip was shot at the most recent Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade. Another is taken from a traditional Jewish wedding, with the music and songs to match.
The most amusing door is probably the beach door. Visitors are offered an interactive paddle ball racket to play against a changing Israeli adversary on the beach screen. “Kids love it, and so do adults,” grins Lion.
Leora Hadar, the commercial attaché of the Israeli Embassy, encourages me to open the Israeli hi-tech door, where different Israeli companies feature global achievements.
With a touch of the hand we learn about telecommunication gadgets, computerized watering systems, satellites and more.
Israeli Ambassador Aliza Bin-Noun, tells the Post
that many people in France and elsewhere connect Israel only with the Middle East conflict or to terrorist attacks. “It is our job to demonstrate the positive aspects of Israeli society. To offer people a small taste of us, of what we are alike, to awake their curiosity,” she says. She also notes that Israeli Innovation Day, featuring the best of Israeli hi-tech, will open here on April 6.
Judging by the crowd, the creative side definitely appeals to many. Famous French caricaturist Platnu opens one door after the other, followed by Filmmaker Alexandre Arcady and French actor Steve Suissa.
“After the BDS poster campaign at the London tube last month, we were not sure how our exhibit would be greeted,” an Israeli diplomat said. “We already put up posters last week in several metro stations announcing the exhibit without the slightest negative reaction,” he said. “I am sure that our Israeli doors will open many French hearts.”