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Israel Museum Opened in Jerusalem; President Johnson’s Message Read

May 12, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Under clear, sunny skies, the Israel Museum was dedicated officially here today atop a Judean hill now named Naveh Shaanan, the Place of Tranquility. More than 2,000 guests from Israel and abroad were present as President Zalman Shazar formally opened the vast complex of buildings forming the Museum.

United States Ambassador Walworth Barbour attended, and read a message from President Lyndon B. Johnson, hailing the establishment of the Israel Museum. Similar messages were received from Marc Chagall, Picasso, Jacques Lipshitz and many other leading artists from around the world.

Among the official participants and guests were Prime Minister Levi Eshkol; former Premier David Ben-Gurion who had come here from his kibbutz home at Sde Boker; Deputy Prime Minister Abba Eban; Minister of Education Zalman Aranne; Jerusalem Mayor Mordechai Ish-Shalom; many of the principal donors of portions of the Museum complex; all other members of Israel’s Cabinet; members of the Knesset. Israel’s Parliament; the entire diplomatic corps; and the man lauded by all as the moving spirit of the Museum, Teddy Kollek, chairman of the Museum’s board of directors.

Among the prominent donors present were Billy Rose, the American showman, who had donated a vast collection of sculpture to a garden in the Museum bearing his name, and the Japanese-American designer of that garden, Isamu Noguchi; Samuel Bronfman, of Canada, whose name has been given to another of the Museum’s principal components, the Biblical and Archaeological Museum; and the American industrialist, Samuel Gottesman, whose family had given $600,000 for the “Shrine of the Book,” a special, impressive edifice housing the Dead Sea Scrolls.


Ambassador Barbour and the United States Government were hailed during the ceremonies for the fact that the first important monetary grant to be given toward establishment of the Museum had come in the form of $835,000 from the U. S. Information Media Grant program.

The fourth component of the Museum–in addition to the Bronfman Biblical and Archaeological unit, the Billy Rose Garden and the “Book of the Shrine”–is the Bezalel Museum with its 100 paintings from its permanent collection, many famous paintings on loan here, and bronze statuettes by Andrea Riccio, Degas and Rodin.

Following the official opening, thousands of persons, official guests and others, fanned out to the various sections of the Museum, marveling at the riches of art and culture and history on display.

Among painters were Rembrandt and Van Dyck, Picasso and Van Gogh, Renoir and Soutine. There were 26 paintings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries; 14 from the 19th century, 52 from the present century. There were examples of the finest of contemporary Israeli art.

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