(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
JerusaLENS Photography Exhibition officially opened at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem On Tuesday, June 6, in a festive launching. The competition leading to the exhibition was supported by JNF USA and KKL-JNF in Israel.
KKL-JNF Director General Amnon Ben Ami congratulated the winners of the Jerusalem International Photo Challenge competition and everyone involved in the project, on behalf of KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar. “Jerusalem has been the capital city of the Jewish people since the time of the First Temple until now. For 115 years, KKL-JNF has been active in strengthening Jerusalem, caring for it and promoting its global status. We were delighted to share KKL-JNF’s official photo archive with the competition, and to allow the general public to enjoy the beauty of the city, its people and its culture.” Ben Ami added that KKL-JNF believes that “cooperation is what makes many important projects in Jerusalem and throughout the country happen. I especially want to thank JNF USA, which helped sponsor the competition. The pictures are amazing, beautiful and very moving.”
“JerusaLENS – the Jerusalem International Photo Challenge” was initiated in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War and the subsequent reunification of Jerusalem, and is now the largest collection of pictures of Jerusalem on the internet. Photographers from all over the world were invited to send pictures of Jerusalem from any time and on any subject to a unique competition platform.
Izzy Mann of Israel Radio, who emceed the ceremony, noted that “14,500 pictures from 84 countries, including Muslim states, were uploaded on the site over the past month and a half, and 2.4 million people voted for them, an all-time record for the Gurushots website.”
KKL-JNF also published a beautiful album of the pictures on display at the exhibition, which was given as a gift to everyone present at the ceremony.
Ran Yishai, Director General of the Ministry for Jerusalem, said that “Jerusalem was one of the things that connected the entire Jewish people during our wanderings. Just like Jerusalem protected our people, it is now only fair that we should protect Jerusalem. This exhibition reflects the nine measures of beauty that our sages attributed to Jerusalem.”
Ammunition Hill Director General Katri Maoz was very moved to announce that the Israeli government decided to recognize Ammunition Hill as a full-fledged governmental institution.
Izzy Man expressed everyone’s gratitude to JNF USA for their special connection to Ammunition Hill. “This is a historical bond based on assistance, love and support. JNF USA helped make this site relevant, and supported the construction of the amphitheater, the Six Day War Museum that was recently dedicated, and more. They are also full partners to this photography competition, and they strengthen the connection of Diaspora Jewry to Jerusalem.”
The Central Command Variety Ensemble entertained the audience with songs written about Jerusalem. The audience was very moved when the emcee invited members who were part of the ensemble in 1967 to join the young soldiers and to sing together with them. The famous song “Jerusalem of Gold” closed the ceremony but opened up hearts. Afterwards, the audience was invited to view the exhibition, which reflects Jerusalem’s social mosaic along with the almost mystical light that pervades Israel’s capital city.
Alon Badihi, JNF USA representative in Israel, was invited to the stage to present prizes to the winners of the competition. “We are committed to the reality of a united Jerusalem, and we also initiated a new category in the competition for youth. As Yigal Alon said, ‘if a people does not recognize its past, then its future is also cloudy.’ I am very grateful to the leaders of JNF USA, including President Ronald Lauder and Russell Robinson, our CEO, and many others. We will continue to impress the importance of Ammunition Hill and Jerusalem on the consciousness of Diaspora Jewry.”
Visit at the Exhibition at Ammunition Hill
which will run from June 6th until August 6th.
Admission is free.