Israel StoryIn partnership with The Times of Israel

Wartime Diaries: Hagit Maoz

When rockets start falling, who protects our most ancient treasures?

Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at Israel Museum (Israel Story)
Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at Israel Museum (Israel Story)

Almost immediately after the start of the attack of October 7th, as rockets were being launched at Jerusalem, and sirens sent the city’s one million residents into shelters, the heads of the Israel Museum initiated an emergency protocol for the first time since the Gulf War in 1991.

The idea was to protect the nation’s most priceless cultural and historical treasures, the building blocks of our collective identity. The very first step of that protocol was to secure the Museum’s most prized possession, its indisputable star, its “Mona Lisa” – the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Of all the estimated 500,000 treasured items in the Museum’s collections, from Monets to Picassos, from the Chalcolithic hoard of Nahal Mishmar to the House of David inscription from Tel Dan, it was the 2200-year-old scrolls that were packed up and rushed into the museum’s most protected safe. And it was Hagit Maoz, the Curator of the Shrine of the Book where the scrolls are normally housed, who was tasked with this delicate operation.

The end song is Imperiot Noflot Le’at (“Empires Fall Slowly”) by Dan Toren and Hemi Rudner. (Licensed by Israel Story through Acum)

Produced in partnership with The Times of Israel.

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