Artist Apologizes for Slanderous 'State of Judea' Exhibit
Artist Yossi Even-Kama has apologized for attributing false quotes to real rabbis. The quotes, which were included in Even-Kama's recent exhibition at the Shenker College of Engineering and Design, contain calls to kill Jews who are not religiously observant.
Even-Kama did not apologize for the display itself, which portrays an imaginary future in which Israel's political and religious right stages a violent revolution and takes over the country, creating the “state of Judah” in its place. During the revolution as portrayed by Even-Kama, the religious right incites to civil war and carries out bombings in which dozens are killed.
The display features posters in which a black Star of David inside a white circle on a red background is used as a symbol of the revolution; the imagery drew accusations that Even-Kama was linking Jewish symbols to Nazi graphics.
Several rabbis protested the inclusion of their names in the display, where they were alleged to have called to murder Jews who do not follow Torah law.
"I was shocked to discover this morning, the day before Tisha B'Av, that my name and title were included in a list of rabbis who 'call to kill Jews,'” on of the rabbis said in letters to Even-Kara. “It should be noted that I discovered this due to the many responses I received to my 'signature' on this horrific document.”
The rabbis noted the timing of the exhibit's opening “during the days of national mourning over the destruction of the Temple, which was caused among other things by senseless hatred among Jews.” The opening also coincided with the fifth anniversary of the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria under the Disengagement plan.
In his apology to the rabbis, Even-Kama explained that in order to create his exhibit, he had hunted for a list of rabbis' names online, and had then altered the names. “Unfortunately, I missed some of the names, including yours,” he wrote. “I don't know you or your work or your philosophy, and I have nothing against you personally.”
One rabbi whose name was included in Even-Kama's display, Rabbi Azriel Ariel of the town of Ateret, shared his reaction to the “libelous” display with Arutz Sheva. “Hatred is a form of mental illness,” he said. “G-d created all people in his image. We are all one, and man's natural state is to love his fellow man.”
The hate on display at Shenkar indicates an inner emptiness, he added.
Adding to the controversy over Even-Kama's display was the fact that Shenkar is now headed by Yuli Tamir, a former Minister of Education who was a founder of Peace Now. “It's frightening to think that the person giving a platform to this extremist and hateful display was once the Education Minister, responsible for educating our children,” said Danny Dayan, head of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) council.