Exhibition Review: 'We Also Are a Silver Tray'

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

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

We Also are a Silver TrayThe Palmach MuseumTel Aviv

Themain exhibition in the Palmach Museum is an innovative arrangement ofcinema docudrama and diorama designed to bring to life the experiencesof the young Israeli men and women who trained and fought with thecountry's Palmach forces during the War of Independence.

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

Perhaps the most salient fact addressed in this new permanentexhibition is that 30,000 out of 60,000 Jewish combat soldiers duringthe War of Independence were Holocaust survivors. They were recruitedfor 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 docudramafeaturing young Holocaust survivors in period costumes discussing theissues that mattered to them at the time, including living arrangementsand learning Hebrew. Other young people in Palmach dress also playroles in this cinema production. The camera is angled so that theactors could almost have been playing their parts live on stage.

The exposure to this rarechapter of Israeli history in the exhibition is remarkable. There's noquestion why most of the visitors around me when I reviewed the newshow were Israeli high school students just before recruitment into theIDF.

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