Learning curve

The development of Israel and the career of one of its key figures are entwined in an intriguing museum

By Ann Goldberg, November 11, 2011

It is now 18 months since The Israeli Museum at the Yitzchak Rabin Centre opened - the first museum to show the development of the State of Israel as a democracy. In the initial year, more than 40,000 people visited the museum and double that number are expected by the end of the second year.

The museum has two parallel themes; the development of Israel both politically and socially and the progress of Yitzchak Rabin's life and career as one of the prime movers in the political life of the country.

As you walk round the spiral, visiting the seven rooms, each of which represents around a decade in the life of the State, in the outer corridor you will see a parallel time-line of the life of Yitzchak Rabin as he progressed up the political and defence ladder.

Democracy involves debate, discussion and opposing points of view and, as Dr Nurit Cohen-Levinovsky, director of the educational department of the museum points out, the museum does not shy away from the disputes and political crises. On the contrary, every one of the rooms contains a "pillar of dispute" which outlines the controversies that were raging among the Jewish population here at that time.

Yitzchak Rabin led Israel at a time of some of her greatest conflicts and his tragic assassination indicated the lowest point a society can sink to in intolerance and disregard for the rule of law. The murder and the tear in society just before his death left an irreparable scar on Israeli society and this museum and the entire educational centre are dedicated to repairing the split.

But although the assassination is what inevitably remains in many people's minds, Dr Cohen-Levinovsky is clear that the emphasis of the museum is on the many enormous achievements of the State under Rabin's leadership. Twice Prime Minister, Minster of Defence and Ambassador to the USA, Rabin influenced not only life in Israel but he also played a significant role in shaping the world's opinion of us.

Some 180 films, photographs, memorabilia, song and music are employed to give a full multi-sensory picture of these years. You can use individual audio devices to pace your own visit and the translation begins as you stand in front of each film or exhibit, but it's even more meaningful if you join a guided tour. Booking is essential, as the museum tries to avoid overcrowding.

To book a visit call 00 972 3 7453358

Last updated: 4:09pm, November 11 2011