Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market has a new after-hours attraction, a portrait of Nikki Haley!
By Tsivya Fox-Dobuler, United With Israel
Israelis, along with so many pro-Israel activists around-the-world, love Nikki Haley.
During her brief tenure as United States ambassador to the United Nations, from 2017 to 2018, she was a staunch supporter of Israel and fought the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement meant to hurt the country’s economy and citizens.
Haley has now joined the ranks of other famous dignitaries, religious figures, politicians, actors and performers by having her portrait spray-painted onto the shutters of the Pepito’s Street Food restaurant in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda shuk [market.]
Political analyst Arsen Otrovsky posted the Haley portrait on his Twitter account, writing, “Mazal Tov @NikkiHaley! You haven’t really made it in #Israel until you’ve been immortalized in graffiti art at Jerusalem’s iconic Machane Yehuda Market!”
Mahane Yehuda was established in 1887 as place for local citizens to buy produce. Proper stalls were built in the late 1920s by the British Mandate authorities.
The shuk remained virtually unchanged, selling fruits, vegetables, fish and meat, while closing at sundown, until the 2000s, when trendy shops, restaurants and retail stores began to open.
Then, after years of resistance, the shuk started to open after dark with a bustling nightlife. Now, food stalls close and crowds of tourists and locals pack into bars, listen to music and dine in a wide array of restaurants.
In 2011, seeking to improve the already-unique atmosphere of the nighttime shuk, Jerusalem sponsored a project called “Tabula Rasa” (Blank Slate). The project brought artists to the shuk to decorate walls, concrete surfaces and even the trash bins.
In 2015, street artist Solomon Souza became an after-hours attraction. With the permission of shopkeepers, the graffiti artist began spray-painting portraits of famous personalities on the metal shutters and doors of shuk shops. Today, the artist has added beauty to hundreds of stores.
So intriguing is it to watch Souza turn plain shutters into art that a film of him painting won first prize in a video contest sponsored by Israel Video Network.
The artist originally relied on donations to cover the cost of his materials. However, as popularity of his art grew, shopkeepers began making specific requests about who they wanted painted on their shutters, ranging from famous people to family members.
Souza’s portraits include Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, David Ben-Gurion, Albert Einstein, Bob Marley, Steven Spielberg, Roseanne Barr – and now, Nikki Haley.
Welcome Nikki Haley to your permanent spot in Jerusalem! This is a well-earned honor for your courage and success in standing up for Israel against the United Nations’ “bullying” time and again.
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