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At the Jewish Museum, gut-wrenching drawings depict the terror of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel

(New York Jewish Week) — A family of ashen, burned bodies sit around their kitchen table, their expressions frozen in terror — hands pressed against gaping mouths, silently screaming. An elderly couple, hands bound in rope behind their backs, embraces as blood pools around them and flames lick at their feet. A mother grips her son close to her chest as she looks over a pile of dead bodies. 

These horrifying scenes are part of “7 October 2023,” a new exhibit of 12 drawings created by Israeli artist Zoya Cherkassy in response to the Hamas attacks on that day. The colorful but violent and gut-wrenching works, which are now on view at the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side, are inspired in part by Pablo Picasso’s renowned “Guernica,” which he painted to show the world the violence and inhumanity during the Spanish Civil War.   

“Museums exist to be custodians of world cultural heritage, and this kind of savagery and barbarism is the antithesis of that,” James Snyder, who took over as the new director of the Jewish Museum last month, told the New York Jewish Week. “We need to speak out against them and we need to do what we can to educate and engage.” 

An Israeli mother holds her son and looks at a mass of bodies in “Massacre of the Innocents.” (Drawing by Zoya Cherkassy)

When Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and kidnapping around 240, Snyder said he immediately began thinking about the unique responsibility that the Jewish Museum — and museums around the world — had to meet the moment. 

“I started thinking about how after World War I, Dadaism and surrealism were new vocabularies that got created coming out of the chaos of that moment,” Snyder said. “We thought we could create a similar opportunity to show installations of work by artists at this moment.”

It’s cultural activism; it’s art activism,” he explained. “It’s not about the complex politics of what’s going on. It’s about artists producing work in response to trauma and tragedy happening in the world.”

Cherkassy’s exhibit at the Jewish Museum, which will run until Feb. 19, is the first time her Oct. 7 drawings are being displayed in public. Two months is an atypically fast turnaround time for museums, Snyder said, but the material was too important to wait. 

Immediately after the terrorist attack, Snyder said that he and the museum’s curators began to develop an ongoing series to address the attack and the subsequent war, and to provide “a forum for dialogue and reflection on the role of art and culture during these complex times,” according to a press release. In addition to art exhibitions, the museum is preparing public programs, a speaker series and opportunities for staff to engage more deeply with the cultural ramifications of the conflict. 

Cherkassy, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, began drawing the scenes that became “7 October 2023” just a few days after the Hamas attacks in Israel. She had temporarily fled to a friend’s apartment in Berlin with her young daughter, bringing along the art supplies she knew she would need to process the tragedy.

“When we got ready to leave home, I packed some drawing and art supplies because I knew something was going to come. In a moment like this, you cannot think about anything else, so I knew I would be making art about it,” Cherkassky, who was unavailable for an interview with the New York Jewish Week, told the Times of Israel in October.“I grabbed pencils, wax crayons, watercolors — whatever. My whole [Tel Aviv] studio can’t fit in one bag, but it’s enough for me to do what I want.”

The 11 x 17 drawings in “7 October 2023” are displayed in an all-black room. (Courtesy of The Jewish Museum)

The series is one of the first to be displayed under the helm of Snyder, who began his tenure in early November after four years as the executive chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation and, before that, 22 years as the director of The Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Snyder first worked with Cherkassy in 2018, when The Israel Museum exhibited her work “Pravda” (“Truth”), which depicted her experience as an immigrant to Israel from the Soviet Union. And this isn’t her first time making wartime art: A native of Kyiv, she has also been painting and drawing art in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for nearly two years. In her series “Before and After” Cherkassy juxtaposes art she made about her childhood in Ukraine with present-day scenes of the war-town country. 

At the Jewish Museum, Cherkassy’s Oct. 7 artwork is like “bereshit,” said Snyder, using the Hebrew word for the first book of the Torah, meaning “creation” or “genesis.” “It’s the day everything started,” he said.

Museums are places of repose and reflection,” Snyder said. “We felt that as a place of education and engagement, we needed to shape an action plan that would offer opportunities to educate our staff, to engage with our audience and with the public, and to provide opportunities for artists to show work responding to the tragedy unfolding in the Middle East.”

The first guest in the Jewish Museum’s speaker series will be Israeli author Ruby Namdar, who will be in conversation with Snyder about the cultural ramifications of the Israel-Hamas war in the diaspora on Feb 5. Talks with Cherkassy and Israeli artist Michal Rovner are forthcoming this spring. 

The post At the Jewish Museum, gut-wrenching drawings depict the terror of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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