A dozen artists from around the world descended on the community of Shtula on Israel’s northern border to paint the security fence with Lebanon.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Several artists from around the world descended on the community of Shtula on Israel’s northern border this past week to paint the security fence with Lebanon.
The eight artists who are part of Artists4Israel came to paint a 200 meter stretch of the fence near the location where IDF reservists Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were killed and their bodies abducted by Hezbollah in 2006.
The event was organized by the Ma’aleh Yosef Regional Council in cooperation with the Community Center of Shtula and Artists4Israel, which consists of 1,000 artists from 21 countries who have painted over 800 murals worldwide, including on bomb shelters and orphanages.
“These murals transform the grim reminders of war and terrorism into outdoor art galleries, beautify areas in need of renewal, add color to communities darkened by poverty and show that people in need are supported by Israel, artists and the creative communities of the world,” reads the Artists4Israel website.
After over half a year of planning, the artists – who came from France, South Africa, Japan and the United States – arrived in Israel on May 1, staying as guests of Moshav Shtula until the end of the painting project on May 9. The artists and participants were constantly guarded by IDF soldiers throughout their time on the border.
Merav Uziel-Workernach, who works in therapeutic projects in communities with a vulnerable security situation and with individuals coping with bereavement, initiated the project with Artists4Israel.
“When I moved from Jerusalem to the north two years ago and saw this fence, I decided it would be a good idea to bring the artists here,” she told The Jerusalem Post
on Wednesday in Shtula, adding that “the residents really wanted to do something with this fence and this is how it started.”
Uziel-Workernach told the Post
that the well-known artists “came for one reason: to show their followers on Instagram and the world that this is not a war zone. Look how beautiful it is for Israel!”
According to her, the artists who came always spoke about how northern Israel is currently seen in Western media as a dangerous war zone.
But, “when they got here, all of a sudden they felt something different... the quiet, the calm. They felt the Israeli hospitality, with the children of Shtula always bringing them ice cream and families inviting them for Shabbat dinner. They didn’t feel war or fear.”
For her, the talk of impending war that is pervasive in the media in recent days is miles away from the quiet she is surrounded with in northern Israel.
Nevertheless, the border area with Lebanon has been flagged by the IDF as vulnerable to enemy infiltrations, as it has been breached at least 10 times since 2009.
In the summer Israel began building an upgraded border security fence along two stretches of the Lebanese border: near Rosh Hanikra on the northern Mediterranean coast and near the northern city of Metulla. The portion of the fence painted by Artists4Israel is not part of the newly built fence.
The IDF and Hezbollah fought a deadly 33-day war in 2006, and Israel believes that during the next war the Shiite terror group will try to bring the fight to the home front by infiltrating Israeli communities in an effort to inflict significant civilian and military casualties.
“I personally feel safe – I have confidence in the State of Israel. I still haven’t prepared my shelter, it’s still my storage room,” Uziel-Workernach told the Post
. “Yesterday we were here, day and night. There was a ceremony [celebrating the end of the project] which was attended by dozens of people. Of course there were soldiers, but they are always here.”
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