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Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem launches interactive exhibition 'From Darkness to Light' honoring female victims and survivors on Oct 7

Exhibit features personal testimonies of 25 courageous women who endured Hamas atrocities

The image of Noam Ben David, a 27-year-old survivor of the deadly October 7 attack by Hamas, who hid for five hours in a garbage container after witnessing her partner's murder, is exhibited at the "From Darkness to Light" interactive exhibition in Jerusalem May 9, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

The Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem (MTJ) will launch a compelling new interactive exhibition on May 20 featuring personal testimonies of 25 courageous women who endured the tragedies and horrors on Oct. 7.

The exhibition, "From Darkness to Light," will explore the sorrow and hope resulting from the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists when they invaded Israel's southern border communities, killing 1,200 innocent civilians and kidnapping more than 250 hostages into Gaza.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will preside over the exhibition, which will be filmed by Noam Shalev and produced by Malki Shem Tov, the father of Omer Shem Tov, who has been held captive in Gaza for over 200 days.

Two mobile shelters created for the exhibition will take visitors through the first agonizing moments experienced on that dark day when Israeli civilians hid from terrorists and ran to their safety shelters to escape the barrage of rockets fired by Hamas. The visitors will use touchscreen pillars to listen to 25 personal testimonies in Hebrew and English from brave women who experienced the atrocities firsthand.

"For far too many months, weeks, and days, the light has been blocked by the dark shadows of a cloudy sky. And even though the sun seems to keep shining, we wake up to this cruel darkness each morning, which stays with us throughout the day. In this harsh reality, this important exhibition in the Museum of Tolerance brings such a precious and important voice that must be heard loud and clear,” Herzog said about the exhibition.

Included in the testimonies are women who were injured, taken hostage, fought terrorists, saved the lives of wounded civilians and soldiers, lost their husbands, lost their loved ones, or had a family member taken captive by Hamas terrorists.

Among the women, Noam Ben David, who was seriously injured at the Nova Music Festival; Ricarda Louk, mother of the late Shani Louk, who was murdered at the festival; Avital Schindler, whose husband was seriously injured by Hamas terrorists when they broke into their home on Kibbutz Kerem Shalom; Miriam Beit Talmi, a Holocaust survivor from Kibbutz Zikim who was rescued under fire; Chen Almog Goldstein from Kfar Gaza, who was taken captive into Gaza with her children after her daughter and husband were murdered in their home; Mali Shoshana, the commander of the Sderot Police Station on the day of the attack; Tal Hayon, a nurse at Soroka Hospital who treated hundreds of wounded civilians and soldiers on that day; Lt.-Col. Or Ben Yehuda, commander of the Karakal battalion on the Egyptian border, who fought against dozens of terrorists across the Gaza Envelope; Linor Attias, a United Hatzalah medic, among others.

"For me, Oct. 7 is part of my life," Attias told Reuters. She said the "barbarism" she witnessed that day "is something everyone needs to learn about and hear about."

Since the war began on Oct. 7, the women survivors and their stories of the Hamas brutalities committed against them have been dismissed or denied by many in the media and international bodies of government, which makes the testimonies shared in the exhibit even more vital.

In the final part of the exhibition, a series of video clips shot by producer Kobi Sit will show how the Israeli public united on Oct. 7 to support each other and rebuild lives. Each clip was designed to shine a light of hope in the darkness and remind us that even in the most difficult times, good can overcome evil.

The Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem opened in 2023 as an extension of the Museum of Tolerance Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, California, to bring similar educational and experiential exhibits to Israel and the Middle East.

The 4-story museum is shaped like a dove to symbolize hope for peace and includes an outdoor amphitheater, a 400-seat movie theater and two separate museums for children and adults.

“From Darkness to Light” is an important addition to the MTJ which highlights bravery, unity, generosity and heroism, alongside the tragedy and deep sorrow of Oct. 7 and the war that followed.

Images depicting hostages, most of whom were kidnapped during the deadly October 7 attack by Hamas, on the wall at the "From Darkness to Light" interactive exhibition in Jerusalem May 9, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

The CEO of MTJ, Yoni Riss, said about the women’s stories: "The testimonies presented in the exhibition are a winning proof of the strength the citizens demonstrated on October 7th. Alongside the great darkness, the shock, and the sorrow, the great light of Israeli society has been revealed. The volunteers, the fighters, the rescue teams, and the defense forces rallied and demonstrated solidarity, which gave us hope for the future."

"With courage and kindness, the Israelis and the Jewish people found the strength to rebuild, rise, contribute, help, lend a hand, and not give in to evil. The endless giving that will build a better future here grows out of the pain and grief,” said Riss.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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