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The strip of land that connects the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea has stirred passions for thousands of years. In the past 100 years, its inhabitants—Jews, Christians, Muslim, Bedouin, Druze and Baha’i—transformed a desert land of ancient ruins into a breathtaking composition of the natural and the man-made, filling this bridge between Africa, Asia and Europe with a profusion of cultures, traditions, and wildlife. But when it comes to how the world sees Israel – just one image prevails. It saddens me that this myopic image of a land in constant conflict prevents people from seeing the real Israel. Sometimes it feels as though the world is confined, even condemned, to hate a nation and a people that has existed for more than 3,000 years. It is written in the Talmud: “Ten measures of beauty descended upon the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem.” Some may think it presumptuous of me, but I decided it was past time for the world to see some measure of Israel. Israel is a mosaic -- of people, landscapes, seascapes, architecture, ruins, holy sites, and street scenes: cobblestone streets and wineries, sculpture gardens and Bauhaus architecture, innovative interiors and olive plantations. I am not an activist; I am a writer and a curator. I know that a single eye cannot possibly capture so many images so I thought – just maybe – I could bring together the eyes of many to express the real Israel. I began to curate the works of dozens of photographers, Israeli and not, professional and not, to capture that “measure of beauty.” I am humbled by the generosity of these many artists who donated hundreds of images. What materialized is much more than one of the world’s most newsworthy nations. As I culled these works into a collection of 200 photographs, beneath their beauty and poetry I began to see clear themes. Diversity. Juxtapositions abound: the black-hatted Orthodox and tattooed skateboarders in Jerusalem; the archaeological ruins of Masada and high-tech Tel Aviv bustling with companies like Apple and Google; chic French immigrants at cafés and Bedouin hospitality in the Negev. Light. Ancient Israel is commanded to be “a light unto nations” and bridge some of the distance between the world as it is and the world as it should be. Modern Israel is a country of endless innovations and advances that make it a leader in medicine and technologies that save and advance lives everywhere. Spirit. “If you will it, it is no dream,” wrote Theodor Herzl in 1902. His idea applies as much to the resolute self-determination of the persecuted Jewish people, as it does to the individual Israeli’s acute awareness of the miracle that they exist and are living the dream of generations of Jews. As such, they tend to be irrepressibly, almost incomprehensibly bound by an exuberance for life that expresses itself in optimism, passion, and hope. Israelis illustrate the human ability to sustain itself through thousands of years of oppression and exile, and never forget its core spirit. Soul. As the celebrated Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai once put it, “Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of eternity.” For so many people, Israel is the meeting point between heaven and earth. Here, pilgrims of many faiths find their souls on a journey, one that simultaneously touches the past, present, and future. Since I was a small child, long before I fully understood my own Jewish connection to the land, the very word “Israel” held a deep power over me. Hearing it, saying it, and most especially singing it, would bring a rush of emotions—love and longing mixed with an inexplicable sadness. I knew I was inextricably bound. I am not alone. This collection of photos will be published, not by a Jewish publisher. They will be exhibited in a gallery, not owned by Jews. The American singer Matisyahu, known for blending Jewish spiritual themes with reggae, hip hop, and alternative rock, raps this: “Don't you see, it's not about the land or the sea; not the country but the dwelling of his majesty.” It is my hope that the world comes to see this small strip of land that connects the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea as the country it is: a seductive and complicated mosaic; rich with beauty; the cradle of man’s soul.