Confrontation and Initial Reconciliation: 1987- 1992

The first Intifada between 1987 and 1993 dominates this period. Visitors experience the atmosphere, passing through a barricade of a Palestinian town.  Screens depict events of the time.  The narrative tracks the  changes in the Israeli consciousness from the na?ve belief that the disturbances would soon pass, to attempts to overpower and crush the uprising, to the slow realization that armed forces would not succeed against this popular nationalist movement. 

 The complex narrative is told through diverse social views: soldiers distressed at fighting a civilian population and in some cases, refuse to participate; a young generation of protesters against Israeli control and oppression is coming of age; the Palestinian mainstream is making economic sacrifices to support their action; Israeli businesses, dependent on a Palestinian labor force, feel the impact of its absence; Israeli citizens respond with a broad range of opinions; and international voices rise, including protests from human rights organizations.  

 Against this backdrop, visitors come upon the first Gulf War, the introduction of a new threat to Israel and its impact on Israeli civilians.  It is followed by pictures of the mass immigration from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union.  From the joy of arrival to the reality of absorption hardships, the images of the many new faces highlight the growing ethnic and racial diversity evolving in the modern Israeli state.

 The journey that began with the first Intifada progresses to the Madrid conference table, an actual table with those who attended the peace conference simulating the points of view and conflicting goals.  A series of monitors allow visitors to assume the identity of the various representatives. 

 This scenario leads to the Israeli elections of 1992, with the campaign slogan “Israel is waiting for Rabin.” This election campaign was conducted in the shadow of right-wing demonstrations against the peace talks and the exchange of land for peace.  The exhibit concludes with the result of the election and Rabin’s famous declaration:  “I will lead.”