The music of Israel's national anthem rang out Thursday as the Jewish State celebrated its presence with a national pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, where 192 countries and 50 international organizations and corporations are represented.
A special intergovernmental steering committee led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs created the pavilion, one of the most unique to be presented at the Israel Day event. A tour of the pavilion and screening of Israel's technological achievements was scheduled, along with concerts, a dance performance and a news conference.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan were both on hand for the opening ceremonies, which included the raising of the Israeli flag, an exchange of gifts and presentation of the special Israeli stamps issued by the Israel Philatelic Federation in honor of the pavilion.
Israeli vocalist David D'Or and the Hora Jerusalem dance troupe were also scheduled to perform together with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Israeli conductor and composer Rafi Kadishson. The performance was to be preceded by a reception to celebrate Israel's 62nd Independence Day and Israel Day at Expo 2010.
Two Clasped Hands: Innovation and Ancient Culture
The pavilion, designed as two clasped hands, highlights innovation and ancient Jewish culture, according to the official expo website, consisting of three areas: the Whispering Garden, the Hall of Light and the Hall of Innovations. (Israel news photos: courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
The Whispering Garden is a green orchard that greets visitors as they enter the building, with some 50 orange trees that “whisper” in English and Chinese as visitors pass by. Israel's irrigation technology and nature is showcased in this area.
The Hall of Light, under transparent glass, symbolizes technology, transparency, lightness and future.
The Hall of Innovations symbolizes links with the earth and history and the recycling of natural resources, featuring a 15-meter screen that shows films highlighting Israel's innovations and achievements in the fields of agriculture, food, pharmacology, solar and green energy, science, music, literature, high-tech, telecommunications and security. Also featured is a capsule containing a mini-camera that can be swallowed for internal medical diagnostics. The camera can then be discharged naturally, with no pain to the patient.