The exhibition is a first-time presentation of a fascinating selection of 300 photographs by Rothenberg, taken between the years 1947and1957 – photographs from the War of Independence, among them the aerial bombardment of the central bus depot in Tel Aviv, the occupation of Arab villages, daily life in Tel Aviv during the war, the Luna Park in Jaffa, the arrival of new immigrants in Haifa Port, the "Magic Carpet" operation, life in the transit and immigrant camps throughout the country, daily life in Jerusalem, as well as scenery and archeological digs. In an article for the catalogue, researcher Dr. Ruth Oren writes: "Beno Rothenberg has made a sizeable contribution in the creation of Israeli Iconography throughout his entire work, both because he worked as an independent photographer, and also because he was the author of his photography books and the editor of photography books on focal, national subjects.”
Rothenberg came to this country from Germany in 1933, aged 19. Three years later he enlisted in the Haganah and subsequently in the British Army. He photographed significant moments in the War of Independence, various special operations and more. In 1949 he became a press photographer and edited photography books.
Concurrently, his professional and academic development led him to a career as archeologist and researcher. Until he devoted himself entirely to archeology, Beno Rothenberg and his camera accompanied most of the events that were to become Israel's defining moments during the first decade of the State.