Welcoming you to the Holy Land The Land of the Promise exhibit opens our tour of the Friends of Zion Museum. In essence, this stunning, sensuous exhibit introduces us to the message of this newest and most technologically advanced museum in Jerusalem and indeed of any museum in Israel.
As we enter the room, we can see in graphic form the beginning of the more than 3000-year-old saga of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel: At our feet is a 12-meter-long topographic map, cast in specially treated concrete, which outlines the boundaries of the land settled by the 12 tribes of Israel, including the names of the main biblical towns of that era.
Then, as the room darkens, the wall-to-wall screen before us comes alive with incredibly lush and colorful scenes of modern-day Israel. In aerial views, filmed using the largest digital filming format existing, we view scenes that take us on a breathtaking tour from south to north, from west to east, while at the same time, an electronic line traces our tour on the topographic floor map – thus connecting what we see on the screen with the biblical landscape depicted on the map.
We fly over vast agricultural fields, blue-sea shorelines, the Negev desert, the ever-increasing residential and office towers of dynamic Tel Aviv alongside ancient Jaffa, Mount Carmel and Haifa, the green hills and mountains of the Galilee, the dramatic and stark desert cliffs of the Dead sea region. And, of course, we see the most emotion-evoking scenes of all: the domes and spires and red tile roofs of timeless Jerusalem, a city unlike any other in the world – the heart of Zion.
We view all this accompanied by an original musical score, especially composed to accompany us through our visit. The combination of breath-taking video, creative mapping technology and surround sound all contribute to a unique emotional experience: a truly uplifting and inspiring introduction to our Friends of Zion Museum.
But wait! This ancient land, with a rich history, has undergone many centuries – indeed millennia – of conquest, bloodshed and desolation over the ages. Only in the modern era has it blossomed into the miracle of Israel reborn that we know today and which we have just witnessed.
All this did not happen by itself. There were dreamers and ideologues, believers, philosophers and men and women of action who over the ages perpetuated close identification with and belief in the rebirth, rejuvenation and repopulation of the “Land of Milk and Honey.” Among them were many believing Christians, whose faith and devotion to the Bible’s promises of redemption impelled them to keep alive the dream and the promise that the people of Israel would indeed return and revive what had become a sad and neglected landscape.
We go now to the upper floors of this unique Jerusalem museum to trace the stories of some incredible Christian heroes and the crucial roles they played in courageously defending the lives of Jews and promoting and assisting them in their return to their biblical homeland. These are the Friends of Zion.