Peaceful co-existence in Israel is the theme of the new Benetton catalogue

Oliviero Toscani will produce portraits of Jews and Arabs successfully living side by side in harmony

Ponzano, 10th September 1997. Oliviero Toscani’s camera will tell the story of ordinary Jews and Palestinians who every day live, communicate and work together. Through daily contact they overcome the barriers of hatred and their racial and religious differences. The pictures will be taken in Israel - in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Hebron - from 15th to 23rd September and will be used in the Spring/Summer 1998 United Colors of Benetton catalogue. Toscani will be accompanied during the entire project by a crew from the Italian television station RAI which will document this report on peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The catalogue will feature people from different nationalities and religions who, just by talking to each other, creating links of friendship or even love, and sharing common interests, or perhaps more simply, just by being together, have learned how to eradicate conflicts often based on motives far removed from daily life. More than 5 million copies of the catalogue will be distributed in 120 countries around the world.

Toscani has chosen stories for the catalogue which are the slim but strong thread of hope for peaceful co-existence in the Middle East. In Tel Aviv, three students from the university, two Jews and an Arab, voluntarily share an apartment, having decided not to fill in the box regarding their religious allegiance on the application form for university lodgings. They are great friends and two of them would ideally like to form a political, non-religious party. An Israeli man from Tel Aviv has for some years now been going to Jerusalem every week to buy a particular newspaper (Egyptian translated into French) that he can only find at a Palestinian news-stand. Still in Tel Aviv, several Arab clients happily surrender to the steady hand of a Jewish barber who gives them a traditional shave with an open blade. Two press photographers from Hebron, a Jewish woman and a Palestinian man, have become friends after repeatedly finding themselves elbow to elbow taking pictures of scenes at bomb outrages.

Other testimonies to this co-existence promoted by the people are four Israeli lawyers defending Palestinians in court, a band of musicians and a troupe of actors, composed of both Arabs and Jews united by their common passion for art, and a happily married couple of mixed background who have two lovely bright children.

These people will all be wearing items from the new Benetton collection. This is the latest in a series of catalogues shot by Toscani, in locations including China, Norway, India and amongst the youth of Corleone, all in search of authenticity and realism.


For further information:

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