Adjust size of text


Follow us and continue the conversation

Your saved articles

You haven't saved any articles

What are you looking for?

Israel funds Museum of Arab Culture teaching Palestinian narrative

In a surprise move, the Netanyahu Government has agreed to fund a national museum that aims to introduce visitors to the Palestinian view of the conflict.
TJI Pick
Print this
Man in front of hanging net exhibit

Said Abu Shakra, the founder and director of Umm al-Fahm Art Gallery in northern Israel ( Rami Shllush)

Published: 8 July 2024

Last updated: 8 July 2024

Nearly two years after the outgoing Bennett-Lapid government issued a call for proposals to establish Israel's first museum of Arab culture, the Netanyahu government has finally announced a winner: the Umm al-Fahm Art Gallery.

The private gallery, established in 1996 by Said Abu Shakra together with his brother Farid, will now begin a five-year transition period to become a fully-fledge national museum.

Since the deadline for applications passed in early 2023, and Abu Shakra believes his was the only entry, it is not clear why the announcement has been so long in coming. On the other hand, it has always been difficult to imagine the current government getting behind a project like this at all, since one of the gallery's goals is to introduce visitors to the Palestinian narrative.

Nevertheless, after several false alarms, Abu Shakra got word last Thursday that the Culture Ministry had chosen his gallery. The Knesset Appropriations Committee has approved the allocation of a total of 22 million shekels (nearly AUD 9 million) over the next five years to allow it to undertake the measures required to meet the standard required of national museums.

As the country's third-largest Arab city with a population of some 60,000, Umm al-Fahm – situated about an hour's drive north of Tel Aviv –always seemed an unlikely venue for a contemporary art gallery. The city is impoverished, crime-ridden, and culturally and religiously conservative.

But it was there Abu Shakra was inspired to create the first art gallery in an Arab-Israeli community – and from the start, it was clear to him that it should be a place of meeting between local residents and Israel's Jewish population.


In surprise move, Netanyahu Government announces Israel's first Museum of Arab Culture (Haaretz)


No comments on this article yet. Be the first to add your thoughts.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

Enter site