The exhibit presents Rabin during one of the most difficult times in his professional life: his “exile” from government and transition to the political opposition. The exhibit explores the drastic changes in government in 1977 and its effect on the Israeli population beginning with the dramatic televised announcement of Menachem Begin’s election and the chanting of his supporters. A representation of how this election redrew Israel’s political map is presented via an image of the Knesset with photos showing earlier party representation dissolving and evolving into more recent affiliations.
Chronicled in the exhibit is Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem followed by superimposed images of negotiators at Camp David and the outcome of the agreements: peace with the largest Arab nation and Israel ceding the Sinai Peninsula. No picture more clearly communicates the divided feelings over this decision than those depicting the evacuation of the Israeli settlement of Yamit. As Yamit is abandoned, more settlements crop up in other parts of the occupied territories. A large cut-metal map illustrates the “strategic,” “ideological” and “economic” settlements of the era.
Just as Israel was heavily divided over the issue of settlements in the territories, ethnic divisions increasingly emerge. Feelings of anger and defiance surface in the 1981 election, emphasizing societal divisions with a “second,” less equal Israel evolving.
The exhibit concludes with the war in Lebanon. A portrait of the northern border town of Kiryat Shmonah helps put this military offensive into context, demonstrating the “quagmire” and range of Israeli response to the crisis. The election of a national unity government with Likud and Labor parties ruling together is one outcome of the war. Upon exiting, visitors see Rabin in his new post as Minister of Defense, a role that will place him center stage for the upcoming explosion of protests in the West Bank and Gaza.