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Israeli 'Bomb Shelter Museum' seeks to re-open in New York

Arts group wanted to bring controversial exhibit that simulates terrorist attack to Morningside Heights.

The group Artists for Israel is trying to secure a spot for their controversial "Bomb Shelter Museum" -- an immersive, multimedia installation exhibit that simulates a terror attack in Israel -- after a failed attempt to house the art piece at Columbia University.

Students would walk into the shelter, an exact replica of those found in Southern Israel, and be surrounded by blasts of sound and flashing videos made to represent actual Qassam rocket assault on the city of Sderot.

Artists for Israel had hoped to open on Columbia University's campus on March 26, but they did not get the school's approval, an Artists for Israel spokesman told Metro last night.

"The event was never going to happen," said Tor Tsuk, a Hillel official. She said Hillel would be open to hosting the event at the end of the semester or next year, if at all.

According to the arts group, Columbia and Barnard students who visited Israel on Birthright Israel trips wanted their campus to "viscerally feel what Israelis went through last week during the repeated rocket strikes upon towns and cities in Southern Israel."

The event would have been sponsored by the Birthright Israel Alumni Community, according to the Columbia University Hillel website.

"It is an incredible use of art to create awareness and stimulate meaningful dialogue," Hillel wrote on its website, adding that it intended the piece to show "the emotional/human side of the Israeli-Arab conflict by stimulating the effects missiles have on Israelis, specifically children, living in a range of these weapons."

Second time's the charm?

This would not be the first time the Bomb Shelter Museum has paid a visit to New York City.

Last March, Artists for Israel installed the shelter in Washington Square Park, but the NYPD and the Parks Department shut it down after just half an hour.

They had not filed the proper sound permits for blasting sirens, NYPD officials told Metro at the time.

Palestinian groups protested the piece, saying that it unfairly portrayed the conflict.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyAEpstein

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