An iconic modern Jerusalem mosaic has been reconstructed after the building it graced was demolished, in the largest such operation in Israel, the Haaretz daily reported.
“The Rainbow,” by Russian-Israeli artist Lev Syrkin, was created between 1973 and 1974 on the Bezeq telephone exchange building on Hebron Road, commissioned by then-communications minister Shimon Peres to decorate the large windowless building that housed the analog exchanges.
The 5 by 15 meter (16 by 50 foot) work depicts the Biblical account of the rainbow God shoed to Noah after the flood and is inscribed with the passage: “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9:13).
However, when the telephone exchange became obsolete, the building was ordered demolished to make way for apartment buildings in 2009.
Syrkin led a series of protests to save the mural, the first major work he created after moving to Israel, saying at the time that he was “offended to the bottom of his heart” by the decision to destroy it.
Following the protests, Jerusalem authorities authorized a plan to save the work.
Syrkin died in 2012. “He knew that he saved it and went in peace,” his daughter Stella Syrkin told Haaretz.
“He created it in a burst of creativity after the Yom Kippur War in the hopes of peace,” she said.
The mosaic was sheared off the wall and cut into 149 pieces that were stored away from when the building was finally demolished in 2018 until a specially built wall was constructed at the site to hold the work.
Work started in recent months to reconstruct the mosaic. It was completed last week.