Cross on museum brochure sparks ire

Israel Museum distributes brochure featuring girl wearing cross on its cover.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
October 26, 2006 02:22
1 minute read.
Cross on museum brochure sparks ire

girl with cross 298.88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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A religious Jerusalem city councilman on Wednesday called for the immediate resignation of the director of the Israel Museum following the distribution of a museum brochure featuring a girl wearing a cross on its cover. The brochure, detailing upcoming events at the Israel Museum from October-November, was mailed to Jerusalem residents and included wishes for the Jewish New Year on its cover. "It is unnecessary to point out the offense [this] caused to the feelings of the Jewish public," city councilman Yair Gabbai of the National Religious Party wrote in a Sunday letter to Israel Museum Director James S. Snyder. "You can imagine the reaction of the Muslim public if a similar [New Year] blessing including a cross were sent to [Arab] homes in East Jerusalem for Ramadan," he wrote. The letter was released to the press on Wednesday. The image of the girl wearing the cross on a necklace was taken from an exhibition at the museum. The museum declined to comment on the issue Wednesday. The public tiff between the religious councilman and the director of the museum was only the latest in a long-running series of disputes between the two sides regarding the museum's operation on the Sabbath. The Israel Museum, which is considered to be the premier cultural institution in Israel, houses the world's largest collection of Judaica, with about a quarter of a million objects, including the Dead Sea Scrolls on display in the Shrine of the Book. But the city councilman asserted that the issue at hand was the very character of the museum. "The Israel Museum is not just a museum but a national institution, and as such, what interests me is not just what is inside the museum, but the character and nature of the museum," Gabbai said in a telephone interview Wednesday. The debate comes just months after a model of the Second Temple was relocated adjacent to the Shrine of the Book on the museum campus. About 550,000 people are expected to visit the Israel Museum this year, down from the museums's peak year in 1999 - before the outbreak of the latest round of Palestinian violence - when 820,000 visitors passed through its doors.

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