Dov Or Ner, Pershing Missile, 1984

In 1984, Dov Or Ner (b. 1927) was invited to participate in an exhibition entitled “80 Years of Sculpture in Israel” at the Israel Museum. In this work, and in one he created the year before, Or Ner built life-size replicas of advanced ordnance. The fifteen-meter high “Pershing Missile” is a replica of an advanced American missile of the same name with nuclear warhead capabilities.

A few months earlier the missile was installed in West Germany, an action that provoked a huge wave of public protest and almost caused war to break out between East and West. The dummy missile, made from bent and bound olive branches, was built in Kibbutz Hatzor by Or Ner and other kibbutz members.

The sculpture was transported by truck and installed vertically between the museum and the Knesset: “Besides the ironic significance of choosing the olive tree as the material for building a weapon, [Or Ner] sought to underscore the collective dimension: the process of gathering the branches, preparing them, bending and making them flexible, required the cooperation of many others”, wrote researcher and curator Tali Tamir about the sculptor.[1]

[1]Dov Or Ner, Actions in a Nearby Planet, 1970-2070. Researched, written, and edited by Tali Tamir, Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House (2014), p. 174 (Hebrew).