Israel Hayom noted B’nai B’rith Argentina’s contribution in helping to create the Knesset Menorah, which it has now been determined – 70 years later – was built by former B’nai B’rith Argentina lodge member David Sevi.
The Knesset Menorah has been one of the most recognized and revered state symbols in Israel’s history, and parliament is home to more than one menorah statue. Most famously, a seven-branched menorah stands just outside the Knesset plaza. It towers 4.30 meters high, 3.5 meters wide (14 feet by 11.5 feet), and weighs 4 tons.
While it is known that the great menorah was designed by Benno Elkan (1877–1960), and modeled after the golden candelabrum that stood in the Temple in Jerusalem, the identity of the man who created the statue that borders the Knesset’s Rose Garden has always been a mystery.
The Knesset Press Office said Sunday that, following a lead provided by an old newspaper clipping reporting on the arrival of a sculpture from Argentina to Haifa, curators of the future Knesset Museum have been able to name the man behind the menorah as Argentine artist David Sevi.
Dr. Moshe Foxman Shaal, director of the Knesset Museum, told Israel Hayom that following then Knesset Speaker Yosef Sprinzak’s visit to Argentian in the 1950s, B’nai B’rith Argentina decided to raise funds to create a statue in the likening of the ancient Temple menorah, with the aim of gifting it to the Israeli parliament. Sevi, a member of the B’nai B’rith “Argentina” lodge, was commissioned to create the menorah.
The community rallied en masse, raising enough funds to forge two statues: one was sent to Jerusalem while the other was stationed outside the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, where it stood until the 1994 bombing of the embassy.
Astonishingly, the menorah was found unharmed in the rubble – surviving the collapse of a four-story building on it completely intact.
With the identity of the man behind the Knesset Menorah finally revealed, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy rededicated the statue, with a special plaque recognizing Sevi’s contribution.
“Identifying the artist who created the menorah is very important to us. For years, his identity was a mystery, and now it has been resolved,” Levy said.
“We are happy that David Sevi is recognized on the 70th anniversary of the menorah’s arrival [in Israel] and we are proud of the deep friendships between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.”