Choosing 75 works of art to commemorate Israel’s 75th anniversary is daunting; Israel has a robust artistic scene that started well before the state’s founding. Early Zionists such as Martin Buber considered art a key element in the Jewish people’s rehabilitation. “A nation without art is not a nation,” he declared. As is evident in this compilation, Israel has compensated for the historic dearth of a Jewish artistic tradition resulting from both Second Commandment prohibitions and historical circumstance. Indeed, since the founding of the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem in 1906, Israel’s art scene has flourished. This collection, while not a comprehensive survey, comprises a wide range of media and artists, including painting, sculpture and architecture, and reflects the vibrancy and complexity of life in Israel, as well as the rich sources from Jewish and Israeli history that inspired these works. My hope is that the compilation will be at once stimulating and uplifting.
— Dr. Susan Nashman Fraiman