Memories of Kinnereth
From the photograph albums of Ben-Zion Israeli
The exhibition presents a selection of photographs from the albums collected by Ben-Zion Yisraeli at the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of which are of Kvutzat Kinnereth. These albums and those of his son Aharonchik Yisraeli who followed in his father's footsteps and collected and arranged pictures, have given us documentation of the beginnings of Kinnereth and Jewish settlement in the Jordan Valley.
Israeli immigrated to Palestine after the Kishinov pogrom (1906). In 1909 he established a group of workers, among them Rachel the poetess, to settle in Kvutzat Kinnereth.
In the 1930s he was the driving force behind bringing back the palm tree to Palestine. He traveled to Kurdistan, Iran, Egypt and Iraq, putting himself at grave risk, and brought thousands of palm scions which were planted in the Jordan Valley. He believed that "not only Man needs this tree, but the earth does too."
On his return to Palestine he founded Ohalo, a guesthouse and college named after Berl Katzenelson. After the establishment of the State of Israel he wrote articles for Davar [a daily paper on social and political affairs; he also wrote the history of Kvutzat Kinnereth and agricultural settlement in the Jordan Valley. Israeli was killed at a rally in memory of paratroopers killed in World War II which took place in 1954. During the event a light aircraft crashed into the audience. He is buried in the Kinnereth cemetery, and his headstone bears a palm tree.
Curator: Kineret Palti
Opens: May 7
Closes: July 30, 2009