Largest archaeological garden in country opens at IDF’s Camp Rabin

‘The Israel Antiquities Authority seeks to expose soldiers – our future generation – to their past,’ says Hasson

The archeological garden at Camp Rabin. (photo credit: YOLI SHWARTZ AND ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)
The archeological garden at Camp Rabin.
In an effort to inspire and connect active soldiers to their rich millennia-old history, the largest archeological garden in the country opened Monday at the IDF’s Camp Rabin in Tel Aviv, the nation’s most-visited army base.
The exhibit at Kirya Military Base, built via a joint initiative by the Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry, and the IDF, features numerous rare relics, including a 2,000-pound stone from Jerusalem.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, AA director Israel Hasson, Camp Rabin Base Commander Col. Yigal Ben-Ami, and several senior officials of the government, IDF and AA attended the festive inaugural ceremony.
“The AA seeks to expose soldiers – our future generation – to their past,” said Hasson.
“The exhibition, which we organized in the epicenter of the army, brings a reminder that spans thousands of years of history to the daily life of tens of thousands of soldiers and visitors that we are part of a chain of magnificent life.”
Hasson noted that the exhibit was established as part of the AA’s outreach policy of sharing Jewish heritage with the public, “whether in setting up exhibitions in public places, or encouraging soldiers, pupils in military preparatory programs, and youth to participate in archeological excavations.”
Ze’ev Elkin, Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage minister, said the presence of such an important historical exhibit at the military base is intended to inspire determination and strength among soldiers.
“The importance of the presence of our heritage in the heart of the Kirya Base in Tel Aviv, where all of the army’s senior officers pass, constitutes another tier in our national strength, resulting from the recognition of our heritage and the deep understanding of each soldier and officer that our future depends on our past, and our heritage here in Israel,” said Elkin.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev echoed Elkin’s sentiments, adding that the garden imparts an “important moral message.”
“The decision to inaugurate an archeological garden here in the base of the IDF General Staff conveys first and foremost an important moral message,” said Regev.
“Recognition of Israel’s history is essential in building the image of the soldier who knows his past, understands the challenges of the present, and is always ready to ensure the future of his people for the sake of future generations.”
“A people needs to be aware of its past,” added Ben-Ami. “About 25,000 people pass by here every day, and they will now have direct contact with their heritage. The new garden is an amazing connection between what we went through and our revival.”
Ayelet Grover, the curator of the exhibit on behalf of the Authority, noted that the Hebrew word “kirya” first appears in the Book of Isaiah (22:2), meaning “town,” where it is written: “a tumultuous city, exultant town.”
“In a bustling place like the Kirya Base, which is in the heart of ‘the city that never sleeps’ – the economic, cultural and arts center of Israel – it was appropriate that we organize an archeological exhibition in the city which deals with human culture and the development of urban space,” said Grover.
“The exhibition tells the story of the oldest cities in Israel, the most ancient of which were established 5,000 years ago, and some of them still exist today.”
Grover continued: “The presentation of stones that come from the earth, and hold within them memory, history and culture – especially in a place where the full force of contemporary architecture is present – creates, in my opinion, a thought-provoking dialogue between past, present and future.”