Likud election posters from 1977 – In 1977, Menahem Begin led an election upset as Israel’s first non-Labor prime minister. Credit: GPO
On March 23rd, Israelis will trudge to the polls to cast their ballots yet again in our fourth election “do-over” of the last two years.
This is the first time Israel will have held four elections within a two-year period (and there’s absolutely no guarantee we won’t be facing a fifth within a very short time).
Israel’s democracy is a vibrant work in process, and this isn’t the only historic first the country has experienced.
Join us for a tour of 20 other election firsts in Israel.
In 1949, signs exhorting citizens to “Go and Vote!” were posted to notify building residents about the location of their polling stations for the first elections to take place in the newly established State of Israel.
That same year was the first in which a women’s party, formed by the Women’s Zionist Organization (WIZO),took part. Although only receiving enough votes to earn it a single seat in the first Knesset, WIZO did sound the call for equal rights.
The elections for the second Knesset, in 1951, were in fact the first Knesset elections, as the 1949 elections were actually for a National Assembly.
New immigrants were a deciding force, as large numbers of immigrants had come to Israel in mass waves and were eligible to vote. The “Ingathering of the Exiles” was celebrated in this poster for Hapoel HaMizrachi- Mizrachi Workers party (one of the predecessors of the National Religious Party).
Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines, the Abraham Schwadron Portrait Collection, the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel
An uproar filled the large hall in the Swiss city of Basel. The shouting of the delegates participating in the 6th Zionist Congress in the summer of 1903, accompanied by a variety of dramatic gesticulations, was overwhelming. The conference later came to be known as the “Uganda Congress.” It is difficult to overstate the drama that took place at this historic event, in which a significant rift emerged in the young Zionist movement. Theodor Herzl’s proposal, to create a (temporary!) shelter for Jews in Africa, was accepted. However, following that vote, a group of Russian Zionist delegates left the hall and shut themselves in another room, where they proceeded to mourn the destruction of Jerusalem. According to one of the descriptions, when Herzl asked to come into the room and speak to them, they refused, with one even calling him a “traitor.” Herzl ended the congress with a promise that the Uganda Proposal was only a temporary solution and swore: “If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.”
It is worth mentioning the events that led to Herzl’s rushed decision to advance the rather strange idea of settling Jews in East-Central Africa. On Easter 1903, antisemitic riots broke out in the city of Kishinev, then part of the Russian Empire, with mobs of local residents descending upon Jewish homes and businesses, unimpeded by military or police forces. Thousands of shops were looted or demolished, houses were set on fire, and it is best not to go into detail about the other horrific events that took place. Approximately 50 Jews were murdered, and around 600 were brutally wounded. The event left a brutal, profound impression on the Jewish population around the world – as well as on Herzl, who decided to accelerate his efforts to attain approval from a major world power that would allow Jews to settle in a designated location somewhere across the globe. As far as he was concerned, this was a transitional stage in which several Jewish colonies would be established in different locations, where Jews would then undergo training in order to later establish a state in the Land of Israel.
The Uganda Proposal received many votes in the Zionist Congress thanks to the support of one of its major factions: The “Mizrachi” movement – the religious Zionists. Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines, the leader of the movement and one of the founders of the stream of Religious Zionism, was an associate of Herzl and firmly supported his plan. Many historians have wondered about his support, which, at face value, seems out of the ordinary in the context of Religious Zionism. However, historian Dr. Moshe Berent argues that Reines’ position adheres to the principles of early Religious Zionism. These Mizrachi members solved the alleged contradiction concerning the goals of Zionism with the religious prohibition against “hastening redemption”, arguing that Zionism’s goal was to carry out an immediate, material, and political redemption. According to the members of Mizrachi, there was no connection between Zionism and the spiritual redemption of the Jewish people. The spiritual redemption that would eventually come in the Land of Israel would occur only through the will of God and not through any human actions.
Reines believed that the existence of Jewish autonomy would reinforce religious sentiment among the Jewish people. Where that autonomy would exist was another matter. Contrary to the competing argument that Judaism would be saved only if the Jewish National Home were to be be established in the Land of Israel, Reines argued that in order for there to be Judaism, there must be Jews as well – and therefore, the salvation of the people themselves was of the highest priority. Reines saw the issue of Europe’s Jews as the most urgent matter on the agenda, arguing that the very real physical danger superseded any “spiritual” interests. Furthermore, surely if the danger arose because of a person’s Jewishness, he or she could easily be tempted to throw it away. Thus, Reines’ position was justified as a measure against assimilation.
This does not imply that Reines did not believe, as an ideal, in a Jewish revival in the Land of Israel. However, he laid emphasis on his practical motives, saying: “We agreed to the African proposal because we took heed of the needs of our people, whom we love more than the land.”
As aforementioned, the British proposal for Jewish autonomy in East Africa was accepted in the “Uganda Congress”. However, as you may be aware, it wasn’t actually carried out. The political drama that took place in Basel was only the start of long months of turbulent debate within the Zionist movement. After a compromise was settled upon, a delegation was sent to East Africa to examine the area and its suitability for the establishment of a Jewish colony. The report presented to the 7th Zionist Congress was unfavorable, and, consequently, the proposal was rejected. British enthusiasm for the idea also waned after the Minister of the Colonies was replaced.
Less than a year after the “Uganda Congress” crisis, Herzl died prematurely. Rabbi Reines continued to lead the Mizrachi movement until his death in 1915.
One Last Bonus:
The best-known opponents of the Uganda Proposal were the members of the “Zionists of Zion” faction. Most were Russian Jews, headed by Menachem Ussishkin and Chaim Weizmann. Herzl was supported by his friend Max Nordau, British Zionist activist Israel Zangwill, and, as mentioned above, leaders of the “Mizrachi” movement. However, the “African Proposal,” as it was called, had a few more surprising supporters. One of the most vocal was a prominent Zionist activist, who had already settled in Jerusalem decades earlier, named Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the “reviver of the Hebrew language”. In addition to enthusiastic articles endorsing the proposal, which he published in his journal “HaZvi,” Ben Yehuda wrote and published a pamphlet called “The Jewish State,” detailing the reasons that led him to support the idea. This was what he wrote in the first chapter: “Has nothing been learned from the Chronicles? Will we, too, sin as our ancestors sinned for one thousand and eight hundred years, by closing their eyes to reality and satisfying themselves with hope only?”
"With me, things go very deep and I stay true to what I internalized as a child." (Source images: "Flowers of the Carmel" & The Bracha Avigad Collection, Nadav Mann / Bitmuna via the National Library of Israel Digital Collection)
In Israel’s early years there was a very real and present danger that the country’s beloved wildflowers would soon go extinct due to over-picking.
A law forbidding the act was passed in 1963, and a subsequent wildly successful public awareness campaign changed everything, as posters commanding the public to not pick, uproot, buy or sell wildflowers popped up all over the young country.
Simple wording and beautiful illustrations made the campaign one of the most successful of its kind in Israel’s history, ensuring that the wildflowers dotting the Biblical landscape continued to flourish, which they do until today.
Bracha Avigad was responsible for those illustrations and though many never knew her name or story, generations have grown up knowing Bracha’s work from posters, books, postcards and even decorative plates bearing her iconic flowers.
Born Beatrix Guttman in Latvia in 1919, Bracha grew up in a relatively bourgeoisie urban environment in Darmstadt, Germany, yet some of her earliest memories – recounted in a 2014 interview conducted as part of the Toldot Yisrael initiative – reveal visceral connections to three passions destined to remain with her throughout her long life: the Land of Israel, nature, and art.
Early images of nature
On her father’s side, Bracha descended from a family of French vintners; on her mother’s, caretakers of Latvian estates belonging to absentee German landowners.
The Germany of her childhood was characterized by exponential inflation and tremendous poverty, the result of the country’s defeat in the First World War and subsequent reparations imposed upon it by the war’s victors. Nonetheless, Bracha grew up in relative comfort.
She recalled feeling awkward wearing a fur coat as a child, knowing that impoverished city residents would forage in the surrounding countryside for strawberries and mushrooms. Some would use acorns to create a substitute for the coffee they could not afford.
Though she may not have needed to forage like others, Bracha was intimately familiar with the very same countryside, which she would visit with her neighbors, one of the few families that had a car. While the neighbors’ “nationalist” leanings and “cruel” disposition made young Bracha uncomfortable, the duel allure of the automobile and the German countryside proved irresistible.
Other neighbors in her building provided childcare for young Bracha while her parents were at work. The man in the family was a professional artist – the first Bracha every met – who received payment from the city of Darmstadt in exchange for submitting a work of art every three months. While his artist’s heart resented the arrangement, it paid the bills during those austere years.
Bracha’s warm memories of much time spent in their home undoubtedly planted an artistic seed in the mind of the impressionable young girl.
While she certainly expressed her artistic talents throughout childhood, Bracha didn’t know how gifted an artist she was until a sixth grade teacher, who belonged to the Nazi party, pinched her cheek and told her what a shame it was that she was born a Jew because otherwise he would have sent her to the prestigious Munich Academy of Fine Arts.
Bracha’s adventurous father had traveled the world before coming back to Germany to fight for the Fatherland during World War I. He earned a medal of valor for his service in the naval air force, an honor later stripped from him for being a Jew.
Not long after returning from the war, he was denied a job at the pharmaceutical giant Merck due to his “race”, yet remained a very proud German. In fact, most of his friends and many, if not all, of the people Bracha interacted with in her earliest years were not Jewish.
It wasn’t until she went to school that she encountered anti-Semitism for the first time.
After a classmate derogatorily called her a Jew, Bracha returned home and asked her mother what a “Jew” was.
“They’re just jealous of you,” her mother explained, “You see, I buy you cherries… They can’t buy it for themselves, so they hate…”
She dangled the cherries next to her daughter’s ears – an image that remained with Bracha for the rest of her life; a botanical image in the mind’s eye which certainly may have later made its way onto the canvas in one form or another.
Blossoming in the Land of Israel
Within just a few short years of her teacher “discovering” the young artist’s talents, Bracha was kicked out of school because she was Jewish. She soon moved to the Land of Israel where she enrolled as part of the second class of New Bezalel, the successor to Boris Schatz’s legendary Jerusalem art school which largely defined the artistic expression of Zionist culture.
She received a scholarship to attend Bezalel from no other than Henrietta Szold herself, after Bracha had presented a collection of some of her work to Szold.
While leaving Germany in 1935 was obviously very much a result of increasingly unbearable anti-Semitism, Bracha’s connection to the Land of Israel – and its flora – had very deep roots.
As she approached 100, Bracha could still sing a favorite song about orange trees and date palms in the Land of Israel, which her mother had sung to her as a small child.
Around the age of five, Bracha went with her family to visit her maternal grandparents in Latvia. Upon seeing a large cane in their home – which she identified as the type that might be used to punish naughty children in fairy tales – she asked her grandfather what it was for.
He answered, “My little one, when the Messiah arrives I will take the cane in my hand and all of us will walk to the Land of Israel.”
Her grandfather’s teachings, as well as his blue Jewish National Fund tzedaka box and her mother’s songs, imbued in Bracha a very deep-seeded sense of Zionism, as she dreamed of one day going to the Land of Israel, though not necessarily by foot.
Not long before Bracha was kicked out of school for being Jewish, she remembered being greatly impressed by an exhibit of water color flower paintings on display in a German gallery. Upon seeing it, she promised herself, “If I get to the Land of Israel, I’ll paint the flowers of the Land of Israel!”
For some seven decades, Bracha made good on her childhood promise, not only painting the flowers of the Land of Israel, but also playing a significant role in saving them from extinction.
Many thanks to the Toldot Yisrael team for their assistance preparing this article, much of which was based on their 2014 interview with Bracha Avigad, two years before she passed away. Toldot Yisrael is an initiative dedicated to documenting the testimonies of the State of Israel’s founding generation. The collection is now deposited at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.
To view the complete interview with Bracha Avigad (in Hebrew): Part I, Part II, Part III.
For original works from Bracha Avigad in the National Library of Israel Digital Collection, click here.
This article has been published as part of Gesher L’Europa, the National Library of Israel’s initiative to share stories and connect with people, institutions and communities in Europe and beyond.
How Has Israel’s National Library Responded to the COVID-19 Crisis?
Staying healthy and maximizing opportunities during a complicated and difficult period
The NLI approach has been guided by the goal of protecting the health and welfare of our staff and users, while also identifying strategic opportunities to better fulfill our mission now and well into the future.
The COVID-19 crisis has presented unprecedented challenges as well as opportunities for cultural and educational institutions across the globe, including the National Library of Israel. NLI’s renewal and dual mandate requiring it to engage both domestic and international audiences, as well as the current construction of its new home, have in many ways magnified the challenges posed by this difficult period, as well as – and perhaps even more so – the opportunities it presents.
Following a brief summary of the crisis in Israel, below are a few examples of the adaptations we have implemented and some of the ways in which we have aimed to maximize potential opportunities in fulfilling our mission during this time.
The COVID-19 crisis in Israel
The Israeli governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic began with recommendations against non-essential travel to China from 26 January 2020. Over the next few weeks, flights from a number of countries with high infection rates were suspended, and on 26 February, the government urged cancellation of all travel abroad.
From 9 March, all Israelis returning from abroad were required to home quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. On 12 March, all schools and universities were closed, with other restrictions in the public sphere put in place. A week later a national emergency was declared and on 25 March, citizens were prohibited from moving more than 100 m from their homes, with the exception of a few permitted reasons, such as medical care and procurement of foodstuffs. Citizens were shortly thereafter required to wear masks in public places. Cities and neighborhoods with high infection rates were in some cases fully quarantined, with the army providing citizens with basic services and support.
For the festival of Passover, beginning on 8 April, even stricter lockdown measures were in place, as they were in majority Muslim areas during the holy month of Ramadan, which began on 25 April.
Gradual easing of restrictions began in the last week of April. Schools, some commercial entities and public areas were allowed to begin opening in accordance with very strict regulations, starting from the beginning of May. While much of the public sphere and economy was open during the summer months, regulations remained in place with regard to mask-wearing and social distancing requirements. Various levels of lockdown restrictions have been in place since early autumn 2020. Overall, in terms of public health, Israel has fared relatively well, case fatality rates among the world’s lowest.
Ensuring staff welfare and flexibility
As the severity of the pandemic became increasingly clear, the management of the National Library chose to try and enable continuity of work processes and routine to the greatest extent possible, while ensuring the well-being of its staff and visitors. With the introduction of restrictions in the beginning of March, National Library employees capable of working remotely were largely encouraged to do so and as restrictions tightened and the Library was closed to the public, the vast majority of Library staff were either working remotely full time or taking partial or full paid leave, utilizing vacation days to do so.
A bank of vacation days was established so that employees with many accrued days could donate them to help colleagues take paid leave. Many employees who usually work in public services were given various cataloguing and other tasks that could be performed remotely, so that they would not have to take paid or unpaid leave. Throughout this difficult period, we have tried to prioritize the medical, mental and financial well-being of our employees, with only a few employees placed on unpaid leave.
Throughout the closure periods, a skeleton staff came into the Library daily, to ensure the security and well-being of the collections as well as continue to progress on digitization projects. All of these employees were given special permission in accordance with governmental regulations and have adhered to strict social distancing practices. As will be discussed below, the crew at the construction site of our new home was also permitted to continue working.
Serving the public differently
With the Library closed to the public for what was initially an unknown extended period of time, we wanted to ensure that researchers knew that our reference staff was continuing to work remotely and that they were available through a variety of channels. We posted this information prominently on our home page and on social media.
As we have many researchers who come on a daily basis to the National Library building, many of them were not familiar with the different ways to reach our reference team (i.e. via email, chat, WhatsApp and phone), nor were they necessarily overly familiar with our vast collections of digital resources. Thus, to continue serving the public under these complex circumstances, we felt it was critical to make this information more widely known to our user base.
In addition to highlighting this information clearly in places where our users would find it, we also produced a series of short instructional videos to help them adapt to the new reality and use online resources in an effective manner, as well as a new centralized portal to more easily access approximately one million digital items. As many scholars also usually come from abroad, these actions will continue to have additional value as long as international travel is severely limited.
As soon as the initial government regulations for reopening to the public became clear, the National Library staff began dedicating very significant human and financial resources to ensure that the building could reopen as soon as possible, while adhering to all of the strict government-mandated requirements, which entailed significant physical and procedural modifications. All visitors and staff must sign health declarations and have their temperatures taken prior to entering the building, as well as maintain social distancing while on the National Library premises.
When permitted to come, readers are required to reserve study areas in advance and dividers have been installed throughout the reading rooms and at service desks, and in employee areas. Surfaces are disinfected frequently according to a strict schedule and all users and staff must use provided gloves and disinfectant when utilizing shared equipment such as computers, printers and refreshment areas. On the practical level, as well, we needed to purchase additional laptop computers, equipment and licenses so that staff could effectively work and meet remotely in adhering to social distancing guidelines.
All of these actions clearly required significant time, money and effort on the part of our staff. No reader reservation system existed and so one was developed in-house. We had to design and produce a significant amount of new signage to ensure that visitors knew the procedures and adhered to them. Cleaning and disinfectant supply costs are clearly higher than they were before, and we purchased and installed hundreds of dividers and reconfigured work areas and schedules to protect the welfare of staff and visitors.
Capitalizing on opportunities to improve education
As part of the National Library’s current renewal process, a broad range of educational and cultural initiatives have been developed over the past decade. Some of these were already digital in nature and so we had a strong foundation upon which to build during this complex period.
With schools closed, NLI proactively undertook a wide range of programming to help students, educators and communities transition to both new realities and teaching methods focused more on actively guided and independent learning. This programming has included trainings for teachers; the development of new content suitable for families to learn together; active online educational activities for youth; and the development of new materials and adaptation of existing materials specifically for distance learning.
As part of ‘Pocket Library’, an initiative of our Israel National Center for Humanities Education undertaken in partnership with the Ministry of Education, we offered dozens of audio books through the iCast app, including many works by some of Israel’s most beloved authors for children and youth. We also developed, expanded and promoted a wide range of other educational materials, activities and resources based on National Library treasures in Hebrew, Arabic, English and French.
Moreover, normally hundreds of schoolchildren come to the National Library for programming every week in Hebrew and Arabic. Obviously, once schools and the Library were closed, these programs also could not take place, and so we developed a model to suit the new reality, in the form of a digital program that integrates Zoom gatherings with digital activities like virtual escape rooms, riddles and interactive activity pages, games, competitions for prizes and so on.
Unfortunately, we had to cancel our regular annual summer program for Arab youth, which usually has around 100 participants from the Jerusalem area. Nonetheless, as with many other areas, we are focusing on the positives and potential presented by this new reality and actually saw a number of advantages to a digital program. It enabled us to offer the program to a broader audience, in terms of both the number of participants and additional geographic locations.
Logistically, in the past, it only made sense to offer the program to around 100 Jerusalem children, but we opened this year’s program up to hundreds of participants from across the country. We were able to offer enriching and engaging educational content to the many youth who were stuck at home and did not have many other similar options or resources; and it also provided us with experience, insights, tools and new audiences to further improve and expand our online Arabic educational materials and programs, which will serve throughout the year and in the long term.
These new creative initiatives and avenues for engagement have allowed us to reach new audiences including many youth. With all of the difficulties, we have tried to see the crisis as presenting an exceptional opportunity to connect youth with the National Library’s cultural treasures in creative, innovative, interesting and diverse ways.
We hope that making the most of the opportunities presented during this complex time will allow us to continue engaging young audiences, while developing digital products and content that will continue to inspire long after we return to our new routines. This is truly an historic opportunity upon which we have aimed to capitalize in thoughtful and expedient ways.
Cultural programs under lockdown
To continue fulfilling its mandate and serve as a platform for culture, knowledge and inspiration even during this difficult time, NLI launched ‘The Reading Room’, a virtual space to enjoy live lectures, conversations and interviews via Zoom, as well as a range of previously recorded events in various languages, and in partnership with institutions and organizations across the globe. Overall, tens of thousands of people have participated in hundreds of online events since April. Our annual Docu.Text Documentary Film Festival was also presented in a virtual format this year. While we hope that restrictions will continue to be eased, we also look forward to continuing to develop our online culture program to reach and engage diverse audiences across the globe.
Usually every year we have events exploring Muslim culture timed around the month of Ramadan. With gatherings prohibited due to coronavirus restrictions this year, we led ‘Ramadan Nights from Jerusalem’, a broad collaborative effort to offer diverse opportunities to experience Ramadan, bringing together Jerusalem’s great cultural institutions, religious bodies, grassroots initiatives and community organizations. The initiative sought to provide a virtual platform for Muslims and non-Muslims in the city and around the globe to mark the holy month.
While its overarching goal was to expand awareness about Muslim culture in general and Ramadan in particular, this year, under the shadow of the coronavirus crisis, the platform also provided meaningful programs for those unable to participate in Ramadan’s traditional prayers, family gatherings and public events. Events were live streamed, recorded and are now available on demand via the trilingual (Arabic, Hebrew and English) website. Held in one of the three languages, the events included lectures, talks and virtual tours related to Islamic culture and history; traditional Muslim recitations and prayers; intimate conversations in Jerusalem homes; musical performances; culinary workshops; special programs for children; and more. Around 70% of the nearly 30,000 sessions on the platform were on the Arabic site.
Our annual program ‘Bustan – Writers’ Encounter: Residency Program for Jewish and Arab Writers’ offers an innovative opportunity to utilize the National Library’s extensive collections of Hebrew and Arabic literature to provide a foundation for engagement, creativity and conversation that fosters connections between writers from different communities and supports their production of new work. Six poets were selected for the fourth cohort of Bustan in 2020, representing a diverse group (in terms of religion, language, age, gender, ethnicity and professional background) of highly accomplished fellows who share a love of poetry.
This year’s program was adapted to the new realities, which are unfortunately defined by uncertainty and social distancing. It included an orientation, a retreat and an intensive month-long program of writing workshops, peer-to-peer learning, exposure to National Library experts and collections, and a special translation course. Almost all of the program was able to be held in person in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
The Global Jewish COVID-19 Archive
At the end of March, we announced the creation of the Global Jewish COVID-19 Archive, which documents the unprecedented impact the current coronavirus pandemic is having on Jewish culture, tradition, law and society globally. We are asking the public to contribute digital and physical materials reflecting this impact, including things such as synagogue emails about communal prayer on Zoom, public appeals to help lonely community members, announcements about innovative halachic (Jewish legal) rulings, promotional materials for creative Jewish distance learning initiatives, posters for emergency loans and so on. We are also leading a coalition of partner institutions and organizations across the world to try and help ensure that the collection will be as comprehensive as possible. The Global Jewish COVID-19 Archive will be included as part of our broader archive collection, which contains millions of items, including personal and communal archives, photographs, documents, letters and more from many of modern history’s most prominent cultural figures.
Construction on the new National Library campus
The new NLI will be a striking, multifunctional architectural icon, enabling NLI to most fully realize its ambitious mission and tremendous potential. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, with Mann-Shinar serving as the Executive Architect, the building and its surrounding gardens and plazas will reflect the central value of opening access to the National Library’s treasures for broad and diverse audiences. Within its 45,000 square meters (480,000 sq. ft.) of space, it will provide venues for exhibitions, cultural and educational programming and more in a secure, sustainable and state-of-the-art environment. The lead partners in the building renewal project are the Government of Israel, the Rothschild Family through the auspices of Yad Hanadiv and the David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Family of New York.
With the new NLI campus just over a year from completion when the pandemic began, it was critical to minimize the impact of the crisis on construction progress, to the greatest extent possible. Construction was designated as an essential industry by the government regulations related to COVID-19 and therefore work on the new campus has been permitted to continue as long as we can ensure that some 130 employees on site 6 days a week comply with all public health requirements. And so, for the aspects that have been in our control, we have done our utmost to ensure that the project stays on schedule, with the project team constantly monitoring the situation locally and globally to prepare for various potential scenarios. As a result, the crisis has only caused a project delay of a few months, due to difficulties importing some materials, though our team is now working to try and mitigate the impact of those delays, while preparing for any other potential impacts moving forward.
Looking back, looking ahead
Virtually every country, institution and individual in the world has been impacted in some way by the current COVID-19 crisis. Many of us certainly never planned for such an event and so as the situation has unfolded, we have had to largely react in an ad hoc manner. At the NLI, our approach has been guided by the goal of protecting the health and welfare of our staff and users, and as new circumstances developed we have sought to identify strategic opportunities to not only make the most of the difficulties presented by this complex new reality but also build programs and initiatives that will help us achieve both short-term and long-term strategic goals in striving to serve as the open, dynamic and meaningful institution of national memory for the State of Israel and all of its citizens, as well as the Jewish people worldwide.