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Israeli photographer snaps past and present together

    The Great Synagogue in Rishon Lezion, built in 1889, was a key communal base in the early days of the colony. Here the shul is seen in 1918 and 2010 (Photo: Amit Sha’al)
    The Great Synagogue in Rishon Lezion, built in 1889, was a key communal base in the early days of the colony. Here the shul is seen in 1918 and 2010 (Photo: Amit Sha’al)

    An Israeli photographer has attempted to bring his country’s past and present together in a series of images that contrast old scenes with their modern day surroundings.

    Amit Sha’al asked friends and colleagues to bring him black-and-white snapshots of the country from the start of the British mandate era until the late 1970s.

    He then meticulously researched the scenes in order to contrast them with the same spots in contemporary Israel.

    The resulting series, which includes snapshots of then and now at locations across Israel, was selected as part of the “World Press Photo” exhibition in 2011 and formed part of Israel’s annual press photo exhibition.

    Mr Sha’al called the series Altneuland, a reference to the book by Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl in which two travellers visit a Jewish homeland before development then return to see it fully built as a modern state.

    “In every photo there are three different times, then, now and the time that has passed. We have the ability to fill the gap,” he said.

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