Israel

A Zionist Villa in Venice

Only four years after the establishment of the state of Israel, architect Zeev Rechter was assigned to design the Israeli pavilion in 1952. Known in Israel as one of the founding fathers of modernist architecture, Rechter had arrived in Palestine from Odessa in 1919. He was on-board the “Ruslan” ship together with other future prominent figures, which caused the ship to be known as “the Zionist Mayflower.”

Bearing this in mind, through the writings of Hannah Arendt on Zionism and Jewish assimilation in Europe, one can analyze the design of the Israeli pavilion as a Zionist villa. If according to Arendt assimilation is the forefather of Zionism, founded by bourgeois Jews, it may come as no surprise that the newly born Zionist state has been making a return to Europe through the founding of a villa. Hence, it has manifested the everlasting yearning for (a bourgeois) assimilation in Europe, and the wish to shade away any relation with Israel’s geo-political location and reality.

Positioned next to the pavilion of the USA, it marks the dependency of Zionism on imperial entities and power, a pattern followed by all Israeli governments to our very day. The Israeli pavilion, like the Israeli state, is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America, relying on far away allies and hiding away from any true neighboring relation.

What happens to the Jewish, Zionist and Israeli identity when journeying from Israel to Venice?

Avi Feldman

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Ministry of Culture and Sport
Artist:
Gilad Ratman
Curator:
Sergio Edelsztein
Budget provided by the state:
920,000 NIS (€ 192,239)
Open Call?
No
Selection procedure:
The artist was selected by the Ministry of Culture and Sport.

Curator

Name:
Sergio Edelsztein
Gender:
Male
Born:
Argentina, 1956
Lives and works in:
Israel
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Artist

Name:
Gilad Ratman
Gender:
Male
Born:
Israel, 1975
Lives and works in:
Israel
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1
Represented by galleries in:
Tel Aviv

Politics & Economics

State System:
Parliamentary system
Ruling Political Party:
The right-wing liberal zionist Likud party
Population (World Bank, 2011):
7,765,900
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$31,281
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
5.6% of the labor force
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
$176,830,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$14,638,000,000

Alliances


OECD
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1948 (creation of the Israeli state)
Last Major Border Revision:
Ongoing border conflicts
Colonial History:
Currently colonizing the West Bank and Golan Heights.
International Court of Justice cases:
1
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
1
Nuclear Force?
Yes
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
Israel is in continuous armed conflict with Palestine and several neighbouring states. Israel is not recognized by 32 UN states. UN peacekeeping missions enforce a ceasefire after Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria.