Clinton, Arafat, and Rabin

This is taken from the famous photograph capturing Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, US president Bill Clinton, and Chairman of the PLO Yasser Arafat. It is a moment that is bright and full of color,  yet the color is deceptive. The painting highlights the irony and hypocrisy that lay within this moment.

According to Chassidic thought -

The right hand of the body= the attribute of Chesed, loving-kindness

The left hand of the body = Gevurah, strength, withholding boundaries

In the middle= tiferes, a synthesis of the two, beauty.

With ones hands, comes the power of life and death, action and restraint. The Talmud states- A person should always draw people closer by means of his right hand, and push them aside with his left hand. (Sotah 47)

This painting looks at the scales as the Jew tries to navigate the right balance between the two, though unsuccessful in his calculations. It is a Jew’s nature to want to give, but he must also know when to withhold.  Rabin, and the Oslo Accords, does not bring peace to the Middle East. Rabin is later assassinated by a Jewish Israeli.

After this idyllic moment, the image shatters, the darker truth emerges.  This painting serves as a living testament to the miscalculations of the past, and a plea for the creation of a new, stronger image.