1957 – <em>In the Courtyard of the Third Temple</em>, Naftali Bezem

Naftali Bezem (1924-2018) won the Dizengoff Prize for this work, now housed at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. He painted it in response to the murder of citizens living in Kfar Kassem in the Galilee who had gone to work their farms, not realizing they were violating a military curfew imposed in the wake of the Sinai Campaign of 1956. Forty-nine villagers were killed; only in October 2021 did President Isaac Herzog issue an official apology. The painting avers that the newly reborn State of Israel, as the Third Commonwealth, must act with justice. The three women are reminiscent of ancient Greek mourners; the dead man on the ground clutches his blue Israeli identity card, showing that he is a citizen. Although this painting won an award, New Horizons painters exhibiting at the same time protested by turning their canvases around because Bezem’s work was not in the abstract vein they promoted. (Naftali Bezem, In the Courtyard of the Third Temple, 1957, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Dizengoff Prize, 1957; image copyright Tel Aviv Museum of Art)