Palestinian and Israeli pavilions show past and future at Expo 2020

The Israeli and Palestinian pavilions at Expo 2020, the World Expo to be held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates until March 31, 2022, both include videos showing the Dome of the Rock, a symbol of Jerusalem, the holy city that both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital.

Lines of people wait outside the pavilion representing the State of Palestine at Expo 2020. A wall with the message “Welcome to Palestine” in several languages ​​greets them as they enter the building, designed by a team from the Palestinian Ministry of Economy, to Watch a video that introduces them to the country.

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A wall with the message

Visitors are greeted by a wall with the message “Welcome to Palestine” in multiple languages ​​as they enter the Palestinian Pavilion, Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

(Photo: The Media Line)

“The pavilion is designed to help people experience Palestine through the five senses,” says a Palestine tourist guide. “He is always busy. The only time we see it empty is at 10 in the morning on weekdays; otherwise, there is a flow of visitors all the time, ”he adds.

“This is not the first time that Palestine has participated in an Expo,” he says. Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy also featured a Palestinian pavilion.

Unlike the Israeli pavilion that focuses on technology and looks to the future, the Palestinian pavilion strictly focuses on the unique cultural aspects of the country. The flats themselves are replicas of the streets of the Old City.

“Diplomatic relations are important, but we all also want awareness about Palestine. We want people to see the economic side of Palestine, what people do for a living. We want people to see a different side of Palestine, ”says Rassel Amr, the pavilion’s media officer, during a telephone interview. “The idea is to experience Palestine with the five senses; when you do that, you experience their past and their future, ”he adds.

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Visitors sit at a table illustrating a traditional Palestinian holiday at the Palestinian PavilionVisitors sit at a table illustrating a traditional Palestinian holiday at the Palestinian Pavilion

Visitors sit at a table illustrating a traditional Palestinian holiday at the Palestinian Pavilion

(Photo: The Media Line)

The 1,250-square-meter building has two floors. The first is a waiting room, with an elevator to the second floor. The exterior of the building is designed with an art installation that includes the figure of a woman representing the spirit of Palestine. It has attracted the attention of visitors from all over the world, both Arab and non-Arab. However, there are no statistics on the number of people who have visited the pavilion.

After the video, visitors walk through corridors displaying images of Palestine, enter a room where they can touch the salts of the Dead Sea, enter another room where they can smell the aromas of Palestine, sit at a table illustrating a traditional feast. Palestine. , and finally, enter a room that shows Palestine through virtual reality.

“It’s nice. It’s good to preserve the culture. And considering the status quo, I am amazed at the quality of the pavilion,” says Hesna Boshnah, a Syrian woman who was visiting the pavilion. “It felt like home,” she says. she.

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Pavilion pavilionPavilion pavilion

Pavilion pavilion

(Photo: Getty Images)

The Israeli pavilion reflects the motto of the exhibition, “Connecting minds, creating the future.” It features a sign that says “Towards Tomorrow” in a combination of Arabic and Hebrew script. The building’s design is reminiscent of a desert dune, albeit in a metallic color, to show the similarity between Israel and the Gulf states.

The pavilion, spread over 1,550 square meters in area and 15 meters in height, is built with wide screens showing videos that show Israel’s advanced technologies rather than its culture.

It is mostly an open space, with some closed rooms, including a theater in which a 360-degree video is projected. The content of the pavilion clearly aims to show what Israel can do for the Arab world, particularly the United Arab Emirates, the host country, in a variety of different fields, such as agriculture, cybersecurity, medical equipment, water technology and more.

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The Israeli pavilionThe Israeli pavilion

The Israeli pavilion

(Photo: The Media Line)

Visitors first watch a pre-recorded video quizzing viewers on their knowledge of Israel. In it, the host asks questions and tries to show the “inclusive” character of the country.

Popular TV presenter Lucy Ayoub then welcomes visitors and tells them that her father is Arab and her mother is Jewish. He says he’s struggled to find the right tone, a reference to his complex identity, but urges audiences to “forget about the right tone” and instead “keep up” toward a future based on values ​​such as creativity, creativity, innovation and diversity. and environmental responsibility.

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Israeli flagIsraeli flag

Israeli flag

(Photo: Getty Images)

David Knafo, Managing Director of Knafo Klimor Architects, which designed the pavilion, told the United Arab Emirates news agency WAM: “The Israel pavilion offers an open space, a dune surrounded by seven doors that reflect joy and hope. The dune offers a place where imagination can create a breakthrough for the future of our planet, its ecological diversity and the preservation of human heritage.

The current climate and ecological crisis demands the urgent mobilization of global goodwill, new technologies, inventions and close partnerships, in order to create new horizons for the next generations ”.

At the end of the video, visitors are encouraged to sing together. Some do, while others seem simply impressed. “It’s basically about coming together and people forgetting the past and thinking about the future,” says a visitor from India, Dr. Allowy, as they leave the pavilion.

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Presenter Lucy Ayoub urges visitors to Presenter Lucy Ayoub urges visitors to

Presenter Lucy Ayoub urges visitors to “keep up” toward a future based on values ​​such as creativity, innovation, diversity and environmental responsibility, at the Israel Pavilion.

(Photo: The Media Line)

Like the Palestinian pavilion, the Israeli one attracts a wide variety of visitors, but statistics on how many are not available.

Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov inaugurated the pavilion. Addressing a crowd that included mainly Israelis, but also Arabs from the region in general, he said: “Peace allows us to forge a new reality in the Middle East that will bring prosperity, security and stability to all.”

The article was written by Omnia Al Desoukie and reprinted with permission from The media line

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