Index > Background of Peter Rühe > Exhibition on the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi in Israel 1987

Exhibition on the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi in Israel 1987

From 13 October until 10 November 1987 an extraordinary exhibition entitled "My Life is My Message - The Life and Work of Mohandas K. Gandhi" was shown at the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research at Tantur, located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

The tri-lingual exhibition - Arabic, Hebrew, English - had been compiled by Peter Ruhe, founder chairperson of Gandhi Information Centre and later on GandhiServe Foundation, Berlin/Germany - -, who initiated and initially also coordinated the project. In its further course the project was coordinated by the Regional Branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation in cooperation with Gandhi Information Centre, the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence and the Indian Women's Association in Israel.

This inter-religious and inter-cultural exhibition project was an excellent example for reconciliation work. It was the first non-artistic exhibition in the region compiled and organized by Jews and Palestinians together. The translation of the exhibition texts into Hebrew was carried out by Nurit Moalim and into Arabic by Lina Majaj.

The Regional Branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation had some members in Israel and even in the occupied territories of the West Bank. The local community of Jews, Christians and Moslems met at Jerusalem's "Beit Noah" (Noah House). Thanks to Yvette Naal from Lanza del Vasto's Arche Community in France, the Noah House was a meeting place for like-minded people since 1985. By Friday evening Shabbat meals, common prayers, discussions on political and social issues took place, all over a pot-luck dinner. Everyone was welcome. In talks and action Yvette Naal and her friends tried to develop reconciliation from the grassroot level.

The mobile exhibition contained 100 photographs, a chronology of Mahatma Gandhi's life, and quotations by Gandhi. It was funded exclusively by personal or institutional donations and compiled at Beit Noah.

The exhibition was accompanied by a series of lectures, film and slide shows as well as panel discussions and music/dance programmes, see PDF.

The inauguration of the exhibition took place on 23 October 1987. It consisted of speeches, classical Indian dance and music, followed by a reception. The speakers were Dr. Bolling (director, Ecumenical Institute of Tantur), Lilly Moed (Regional Branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation), Flora Samuel (Indian Women's Association), Olek Netzer (Jewish Kibbutzniks), Dr. Mubarak Awad (Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence) and Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt (Human Rights Museum, Berlin). The classical Indian music was performed by Meira Asher and the classic Kathak dance by Yarden Talegarkar. The event was attended by 300 people of various origins.

Later on the exhibit was shown at various places in Israel and on the West Bank.

Apart of the speakers other prominent human rights and social activists who were involved in the exhibition project were Rabbi Jeromy Milgrom, Yvette Naal, Amos Gvirtz, Joseph Abileah, Gideon Shimoni, Fr. Elias Chacour and Abraham Lissod. The aim of the exhibition was to show that a nonviolent lifestyle is an alternative way of solving problems in that violence-stricken area. The exhibition took place at the time of the first Intifada. It could not prevent violence but it is hoped that it helped to reduce the use of violent means and assisted individuals in their personal quest for truth and happiness. It ought to be an alternative step to mutual understanding, friendship and solidarity. During a very tense time in a literally explosive area, the exhibition was endangered by being liable to aggressive attacks in one form or another. However, the inauguration and the further course of the exhibition, also later on at other venues, went without difficulties.

The following documents are all PDF files

General > Invitation --- Press Release

Exhibition material > Photo captions: English | Hebrew | Arabic --- Chronology of Gandhi's life: English | Hebrew | Arabic --- Quotations by Gandhi: English | Hebrew | Arabic

Press clippings > Kol Ha'ir, 9 Oct 1987, translation --- Kol Ha'ir, 6 Nov 1987, translation --- Indian Express, 3 Sep 1987 --- Hindi paper, 2 Sep 1987

Photographs > Preparation period --- Exhibition --- Inauguration