Israel on display: Expo 67

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The Israel Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montréal opened during a period of political tension in the Middle East, when conflicts arose between Israel and the surrounding Arab nations. After several months of national anxiety, Israel emerged victorious from the ensuing Six Day War, and the territory under Israel’s control greatly expanded. Against this background, the Israel Pavilion at Expo 67 became the focus of international attention, although it did not directly address the country’s contemporary condition. Designed by leading Israeli architects Arieh Sharon, David Resnick and Eldar Sharon, the pavilion’s architecture mainly referred to new and emerging morphologies. The exhibits focused on the history of Jewish people and their attempt to build a new country. Yet, while the pavilion’s design did not deal with the tension between Israel and its Arab neighbours, it certainly reflected Israel’s perception of how it should present itself in global contexts. Expo 67 was the last exhibition to be planned and opened prior to the Six Day War and the significant territorial, social, and political changes that followed it. As such, it was one of the last opportunities for Israel to capitalise on narratives about the ancient Jewish people, their life in the diaspora, their annihilation in Europe, and their subsequent redemption in the new country. After Expo 67, the mode of exhibiting this story has been almost totally transformed. This article returns to the history of the evolution of the Israel Pavilion for Expo 67 to study the emergence of its architectural design in relation to the exhibits. It shows how this was related to Israel’s national self-perception and the ideology that underpinned it, as the nation transformed from a developing country into a significant, regional power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-370
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Architecture
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


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