“Local Testimony” Exhibit


The last few years have been times of extremes. The Covid-19 pandemic threatened our lives and restricted our freedom of movement. The rise of extremist political entities around the world continues, and in Israel we have seen the largest and longest-lasting political protests in the country’s history. Most recently, we experienced the October 7 massacre and the terrible ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza.

Despite struggling for our bare survival, we must not ignore important issues that represent our humanity and that we hope define us as a people: compassion towards the other, narrowed social gaps, equality of opportunity, freedom of expression and protest, and above all, the return of the hostages.

The following photographs represent human and Israeli moments of both hope and pain. We invite you to observe them, to suggest a headline for each image, and to think about the place and story of each picture.

Dana Lalkin, director of “Local Testimony”—an annual exhibit of outstanding photographs by Israel’s leading photojournalists—chose seven photographs that represent the values and ideas she believes are important that we remember ahead of Israel’s 76th Independence Day. She hopes these images will guide the continued development of the State and Israeli society in the coming years.


1. Which photos are interesting to you? What about the stories they convey?

2. Which of the values and ideas that Dana refers to resonate with you?

3. Where are these values represented in Israel’s Declaration of Independence?

Ohed Zwigenberg | Ayalon South, Tel Aviv, March 26, 2023

The right to peacefully protest is a key characteristic of any democracy. The sense of action, the hope for change, and assembling with people who hold similar views fighting for similar goals is important and vital for life.

Ilia Yefimovich DPA | Huwara, February 27, 2023

An image that could be mistaken for a symbol of the October 7 massacre is in fact an image that represents Jewish settler violence which ignited after a terror attack in which Palestinian terrorists murdered two Israelis. This is a difficult picture of a difficult reality that is difficult to look at, but it’s important to delve into, to think about, and learn from.

Tali Ratzker

Two immigrants from Ukraine, a mother and daughter, are in constant cultural conflict; life in Israel floods them with memories and questions of belonging. The period following October 7 in the face of the war in their country of origin sharpens a feeling of longing for a secure, permanent, accepting, and stable place.

Ohed Zwigenburg AP | Tel Aviv, October 18, 2023

“Every moment that one delays redeeming captives, where it is possible to do it sooner, it is as if one is spilling blood.” (The Shulchan Arukh)

The question of redeeming captives became a test for the public, a test of communal solidarity. Even before questions of policies, there is an obligation not to ignore the issue of redeeming captives or to let it rest even for a moment.

Yuval Chen/Yediot Ahronoth 

Blessing Afrifrah, the son of Ghanaian parents who was born and raised in Israel, won the 200 meter gold medal in the 2022 World Athletics U20 Championships. He is the fourth youth athlete in history to run the race in under 20 seconds. 

May we always be a country that receives people and may it allow all kinds of social mobility. 

Shimi Cohen | Pride March, Tel Aviv, June 2021 

May we live in a democratic state that enshrines personal freedom of choice in every way.

Abir Sultan EPA | Migdal Tsedek National Park, August 2023

The rising of a supermoon is beautiful, complete, and strong. Nature in one of its best manifestations reminds us how small we are and how much beauty there is surrounding us, beauty that offers hope and strength. 

For more information:

Local Testimony WebsiteLocal Testimony Exhibit

Annual photojournalist exhibit opens with photos of Hamas attack, war” by ynet correspondents in ynetnews.com, Nov. 30, 2023.

תחנות יסוד קשורות בתחום החינוך לישראל

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