Residents of Hebron woke up Thursday to discover their city painted in bright colors. For the past two days 15 artists from the US and Europe have been hard at work painting large-scale graffiti art on bulletproof cement walls, homes, and IDF bases.
Craig Dershowitz, a Jewish resident of Manhattan and the president of Artists4Israel, told Ynet that most of the artists who worked with him on the project were not even Jewish. "We have no political message," he said.
Danny Cohen, Chabad envoy to Hebron, met some of the group members by chance two years ago, when they painted over Sderot, and invited them to the city.
"They had no trouble with the fact that this is Hebron, because these guys have a goal – which I very much agree with – to take places that have a bad reputation, and are associated with fear and chaos, and insert a little color into them," Cohen said.
'Welcome to city of patriarchs' (Photo: Hebron Chabad)
"The artists themselves are not really interested in politics. They love this country and don't make any distinction between towns inside and out of the Green Line."
Cohen added that the graffiti painted in Hebron was unique and suited to the complicated atmosphere in the city. "We at Chabad Hebron decided that the visit will be devoid of any political persuasion and more spiritual and historical, without the argument between Left and Right – and this suited them," he said.
Art suited to atmosphere of city (Photo: Hebron Chabad)
The artists paid for the flight to Israel while Chabad offered to pay for all of their needs. "We had to supply some 700 spray cans," Cohen said. "But the city certainly looks different. You cannot but notice the beautiful drawings everywhere."
The artists were confronted with violence just once, outside the city's Kasbah, where Palestinian youths threw stones at them.
"I was sure the incident would put an end to this beautiful project, but this unpleasant occurrence only increased their motivation and the guys just continued to paint. They have this message, 'Art and color will vanquish all stones'," Cohen said.