Dubai: The Israeli pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will have a see-through effect, creating an optical illusion that is has no walls. The ‘open tent’ concept was created to showcase Israel as “an open and diverse society that provides equal rights to all its inhabitants. It is also an “open invitation to collaborate and address the various challenges in the world.”
Speaking to Gulf News during a press briefing on Wednesday, Elazar Cohen, the commissioner general of Israel Pavilion, said: “We are going to show a unique pavilion that is completely open — with no walls and boundaries. You can see the horizon from end to end. We designed the pavilion as a symbolic tribute to patriarch Abraham — it (the pavilion) is open on four sides, welcoming everyone.”
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“Inspired by an open tent concept, the pavilion will embrace the Gulf Region and the world with an emotional ‘Journey for Tomorrow,’ (theme of the pavilion), aiming to forge significant relationships, create new opportunities and build a brighter future, together,” he added.
Cohen noted: “The presence of the Israeli pavilion in Expo Dubai is a huge opportunity for us all. For the first time, we will be able to connect with millions of visitors from the Middle East and beyond. Establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and countries in the Gulf region is just the beginning. Our presence in the UAE is a milestone which will be read about in the history books.”
Expo 2020 Dubai will run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. It is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation.
Cohen said the signing of the Abraham Accords last year “has opened myriad new opportunities for Israel and the UAE, and has made it easier for Israelis to travel to and work from Dubai as well as conduct business across other Middle Eastern countries and vice versa.”
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“Israel will focus on building relationships across the region and unlocking new business and collaboration opportunities in numerous sectors including; science, medicine, technology and engineering. With this in mind, the pavilion has a captivating programme lined up throughout the Expo, including events, meetings, think tanks, concerts, press conferences and TED Talks,” he added.
Cohen continued: “The pavilion aims to acknowledge the differences between cultures, yet embrace their similarities. “What brings us together is much bigger than what divides us.”
Addressing world’s problems
Israeli Consul-General Ilan Sztulman Starosta told Gulf News that his country’s pavilion at Expo Dubai “will stand out for its cutting-edge technology, multicultural inclusiveness and commitment to share knowledge and innovation”. “Our key message is addressing the challenges of the world today. We want to show what Israel is doing to address these and we invite people to share in our knowledge and to work together for a better world,” he added.
Sztulman continued: “In Judaism we have this notion that every Jew has a duty to make this a better world. The State of Israel — we are not only Jewish, we have Arab and Christian population — we all do this to do better things and improve the world. What we are showing at World Expo in Dubai is that we invite people to come and cooperate as we work to have a better world.”
According to Sztulman, tens of thousands of Israelis are expected to visit Expo 2020. He noted 125,000 Israelis have already visited the UAE since October last year, after the signing of the Abraham Accord that normalised the ties between the UAE and Israel.
One highlight at the Israel pavilion is its National Day celebration at Expo Dubai that will take place on January 9, 2022. A high-level delegation is expected to come from Israel, officials said.
Take a ‘Journey for Tomorrow’
Israel pavilion’s at Expo Dubai 2020 will carry the theme ‘Israel Connecting a Journey for Tomorrow’. Led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem (MFA) and produced by AVS, an Israeli creative visual solutions specialist, the pavilion was designed by Knafo Klimor Architects.
Officials said visitors will be taken through a journey combining Israel’s past, present and future. The pavilion will focus on the environment and will showcase Israel’s innovation in agriculture, water, medicine, communications and cybertechnology.
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Some of the highlights of the Israel pavilion are ‘Desert blooms’, inviting visitors to climb up and engage in interactive activities or recreations. There is also ‘Gates to the Future,’ an audiovisual show above the pavilion, showing Israel‘s landscapes.
‘Touch the Future’ is an interactive display that reacts to visitors’ movements, resulting in an enjoyable interactive experience and there is also a virtual experience taking visitors across the Arabian Desert and beyond. There will an amphitheatre for small events and presentations.
The architectural theme is presented in a three-dimensional statue written in Aravrit. This stylised writing system created by Israeli typography designer Liron Lavi Turkenich merges the two ancient alphabets, allowing Hebrew and Arabic speakers to read the same words. She said Aravrit promotes coexistence in Israel and beyond.