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Winds of War, Hopes of Peace

The circle of the year completes another cycle. This time it is the Jewish calendar. The Tishrei holidays are on the horizon, waiting patiently: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot.
This year, the holidays are not expected to be particularly festive. True, there will be vacations in kindergartens and schools. But - these vacations may be drowned in the middle of strikes, as the beginning of the school year brings with it wage demands and threats of strikes by teachers' unions.
Yom Kippur also serves as a reminder of that terrible war that broke out on Yom Kippur, October 6, 1973. This year marks 50 years since the October War, when Israel was attacked by a coalition of Arab armies, led by Syria and Egypt. The war mainly took place in Sinai and the Golan Heights, and lasted until October 24, 1973, the day the ceasefire came into effect.
This year, on the 50th anniversary of the war that left a bloody scar in the national memory, military archives will undoubtedly be unsealed and information that has been kept secret until now will be extracted from them. But nothing can change the trauma that shook the state.
I was a child then, and the apartment building we lived in did not have a shelter. Every time we heard the siren, I ran with my mother and two younger brothers to the shelter in the neighbor's house. We were joined by Holocaust survivors, women whose husbands were called to the front, and children who did not understand the gravity of the hour and were silenced by the stressed and frightened adults, whenever they dared to make a sound or play.
The trauma of the war also affected the local culture scene. During the war, singers and entertainment groups were sent to the soldiers at the front to boost their morale. Leonard Cohen somehow joined the Israeli artists, performing with Matti Caspi in front of shocked, sad, and exhausted soldiers.
After the war, as the country was licking its wounds, satire columns appeared in the written press, as well as the groundbreaking satirical television program "Nikui Rosh" (Head Cleaning), which mercilessly attacked the heads of state and the military, and anyone who the writers believed was responsible for the disaster that left thousands of bereaved families and countless physically and mentally wounded.
The war yielded many works among Israeli artists. Some reacted directly and some indirectly. Some reacted immediately, while others took years to articulate their artistic reaction. Among those for whom the creative impulse burned immediately, I must mention Igael Tumarkin, who exhibited a series of war paintings in early 1974, barely months after the war. The portraits of two generals stood out - Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and General Ariel Sharon.
Now, too, there are winds of war blowing in our region. Internal struggles alongside regional threats. These political events, social protests, mass demonstrations, strikes, and the vicious talk on social media - all these processes will soon be reflected in various works of art. The muses do not remain silent.
And yet, we hope and wish for a good year!

Yoram Mark-Reich, Culture Editor
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