Advantages It's an eye-opener
Disadvantages It's not very glamorous
The Eretz (literally meaning "The Land") museum is a monument to the continuing struggle experienced by past and present Israelis in establishing the Promised Land. There are numerous archive photographs, artefacts and displays which capture something of the history of this young country. This is not so much about the ancient history of this land, for that you are better served at the national museum in Jerusalem. For me this was a shame, as the biblical, Roman and medieval stories attached to Israel are numerous. However, in presenting the modern history of the state one can see how a nation forges an identity, and here of all places, incorporates religion and a sense of righteous purpose.Let's not forget that Israel had been a British protectorate (Palestine) for several decades before the 2nd World War, and it was the shake up of the world order, the emergence of the USA and USSR as the global powers and the decline of the British Empire that precipitated the granting of Independence for Israel (not without bloodshed). Neither should you overlook the fact that this Promised Land was delivered in the heart of the Muslim world. Israel is surrounded on all sides, except the Western border facing Europe into the Mediterranean, by Muslim states who largely still deny the right to existence of this Jewish state.
So, it can be understood that a certain amount of patriotism should be present here in the Eretz museum. It is no mean feat that a country could be established from nothing. There are many exhibits showing the back breaking tasks that went into providing housing, engineering infrastructure, water, power, roads from out of the desert. And it seems churlish to admit that this is anything other than a truly remarkable achievement. However, if you take the context away from the displays, you could easily leave feeling that this had been a disappointment.This is not a child friendly, or Disney style wow factor museum. It is a testament to guts, hard work, belief and perseverance in the face of immense adversity and hardship. This alone is worth experiencing, as no understanding of the Modern Israel can be complete without grasping this.
You should note that this museu, is not in central Tel Aviv, but in a nice suburb to the north called Ramat Aviv. Besides driving a car there, the only way to access the museum is via the regular city buses, with which the museum, is amply supplied. Any bus leaving the city on the main north-bound highway (so going to Caesarea, Haifa or Netanya) will go past it. However, once you are finished in the museum, there is precious little else to do it Ramat Aviv and will most likely be heading straight back downtown.
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