As it approaches its 75th birthday, Israel needs “to change course, to end the violence, to desist from hate speech, and to restore peace between brothers,” according to Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and CEO of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which owns the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles (MOT) built almost 30 years ago and the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem (MOTJ). Rabbi Hier made the comments in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post.
Rabbi Hier, what is your vision for the new design and exhibitions at MOTJ?
My vision for the MOTJ is to make sure that the exhibitions speak to all aspects of Israeli society as well as visitors from around the world. As evidenced by the 7.5 million visitors that have visited our Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, the overwhelming amount of which were non-Jews.
How do you plan to promote tolerance and other Jewish values at the museum?
We plan to promote tolerance and other values at the museum by ensuring that our exhibitions speak to young and old, to Israelis and non-Israelis, to secular and religious Jews and especially our neighbors in the Arab world, building on what we have accomplished with the Abraham Accords.
What is your view on the situation in Israel at the moment?
As we approach the historic 75th anniversary of Israel’s creation, Israel’s leaders, those on the right and on the left need to change course, to end the violence, to desist from hate speech, and to restore peace between brothers. The creation of the State of Israel in 1948 was one of the greatest events in the 3,500-year history of the Jewish people. It is more than just a State it has been a symbol of hope, perseverance, and a real-time refuge for all Jews. To continue on its historic trajectory, we must overcome differences through robust democratic and Judaic values.
In what way will the museum help Israelis and other visitors engage and prepare for the future?
The Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem will be the central address for dialogue from people of all faiths and backgrounds, who live in Israel as well as around the globe. One of the proudest moments in the history of our institution was in 1995, when Jordan’s King Hussein and Queen Noor, toured the Museum of Tolerance, the first time a Muslim leader had ever visited a Jewish museum, and then became a lifelong, card-carrying Museum of Tolerance member.