2015 | The Cave of the Patriarch / Ibrahim Mosque, Hebron, West Bank
Four channel synchronized Video  

2015 | ISHMAEL | four channel demo10 MIN 38 sec.loop > Edition of 7+2AP


Editing: Nira Pereg  |  Filming: Ziv berkovich  |

Sound design : Nati Zeidenstadt  |  Post: Tal Korjak



        Following ABRAHAM ABRAHAM SARHA SARAH (2012), ISHMAEL continues Pereg’s ongoing investigation of the everyday routines at the Cave of the Patriarch. Pereg returned to The Cave of the Patriarch, which is also called Ibrahimi Mosque  الحرم الإبراهيمي‎. Under closed military supervision, Pereg was allowed to film and spend one whole day following the adhan- the five Muezzin calls for prayer from 4am to 9pm {4am Fajr (pre-dawn) ,12:30pm Dhuhr (midday), 4pm Asr (afternoon), 7:30pm Maghrib(sunset) / Mincha(before sunset), 9pm Isha'a (night)}, documenting the singularity of the way in which the ritual is conducted in the Cave of the Patriarch at this time.

  The Cave of the Patriarch is located in Hebron, at the heart of the West Bank. It is a sacred place for both Jews and Muslims. Since the mass murder of Palestinians perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish settler from Kiryan Arba, in 1994, the cave has been physically divided between Muslims and Jews. 80% of the cave is a mosque, 20% functions as a synagogue. The IDF is in charge of the only doorway connecting the two separate areas. In ISHMAEL, Pereg follows the Islamic call to worship (adhān), recited by a Muezzin five prescribed times during the day. The adhān was traditionally recited from the Minaret tower - but is now called using a microphone. Due to the particular architectural division between Muslims and Jews in the Cave of the Patriarch, the room from which the Muezzin calls from was left in the Jewish side of the cave.  Ishmael follows the journey of a Muezzin, escorted by IDF soldiers, as he makes his way from the mosque through the synagogue and back.  The work begins in the mosque, where the Muezzin waits for the Israeli soldiers to meet him at the dividing door and escort him through the Jewish side. The escort ends at a green door, from there the Muezzin proceeds to open the door and lock it behind him. He settles, prepares, and then calls the adhān using an amplifying sound system that echoes his prayer throughout the cave and beyond to the city. The soldiers guard the door during the entire time, and once the prayer is over they escort the Muezzin back to the mosque area.  The manner in which the work is shot supports this narrative by positioning three cameras – one in the mosque, one at the dividing door and one in the synagogue. Due to local demand from the Jewish settlers, the Border Police has decided to forbid the 7:30pm Muslim Maghrib (صلاة المغرب sunset call), and instead a Jewish Hazan calls for the evening prayer Mincha (before sunset).This is the only place in the world that a Jew is calling publicly for prayer. These events are part of the surreal routines that maintain the fragile status-quo in the cave over the last two decades.  Echoing the cooperation between Israeli Defense Forces, the Border Patrol Police and Hebron’s Police Force, Pereg placed three cameras – one inside the mosque, one at the door/threshold between the mosque and the synagogue, and one inside the synagogue. She articulated a narrative meticulously  edited it into a multi-channel video installation. The work emphasizes the performative qualities of the routine activities in the Cave that touch upon the link between ceremony and territory, bringing forth a reality that is far from the general public’s awareness, revealing the complex way in which systems pertaining to religious belief, social norms and politics intertwine.


Pereg’s work examines different types of public spaces, such as vertical burial sites (KEPT ALIVE, 2010), documentation of roadblocks in Jewish Orthodox neighborhoods during the Sabbath (SABBATH 2008), or the upkeep of the church of the holy sepulcher (THE RIGHT TO CLEAN, 2015). Pereg attends to different aspects of the regular maintenance occurring in these places, pausing on what she calls spiritual bureaucracy. Her works reveal the form through which religion marks concrete territories in order to maintain itself. Pereg’s subjects relate to the power relations and cooperative arrangements in place that serve to strengthen the religious narrative in each site, thus raising questions about the metaphysical and physical tie created in these types of ritualistic unions.



 פרופ. ישיי רוזן צבי על תערוכתה של נירה פרג ישמעל | Heb

בגלרית ברוורמן, תל אביב. ינואר 2016.

פרופסור ישי רוזן-צבי, פרופסור חבר בחוג לתרבות עברית באוניברסיטת תל אביב ועמית מחקר במכון שלום הרטמן.

Prof. Yishay Rosen-Tzvi discuss Nir Pereg's exhibition ISHAMEL at BRAVERMAN Gallery Tel Aviv , January 2016


Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi is a Senior Research Fellow of the Kogod Research Center at the Shalom Hartman Institute, a doctorate in Jewish philosophy from Tel Aviv University and a lecturer in the Department of Hebrew Culture.

מכון ון ליר כנס - מעבר לגבול ולדמיון: קולנוע תיעודי, ריבונות וזיכרון | צילום, קדושה וריבונות

 ד“ר יעל שנקר

דוברת: ד“ר יוכי פישר, חוקרת דת וחילון, מכון ון ליר בירושלים

מאמרה המלא של דר. יוכי פישר

״מערת המכפלה בעבודותיה של נירה פרג״ 2017

הקרנת עבודות הווידאו־ארט של נירה פרג ”אברהם, אברהם" ו"שרה, שרה״ ו״ישמעל״.

שתי יצירות וידאו ארט שבהן מוצג תהליך שינוי בעלות זמני של 24 שעות של אולמות התפילה במערת המכפלה ממסגד לבית כנסת (שרה שרה) ומבית כנסת למסגד (אברהם אברהם). שתי היצירות זהות באורכן, בקצבן ובמבנה הסימטרי שלהן ומעלות שאלות על מוקדי השליטה המניעים את המרחב כולו. ביצירה "ישמעאל" נירה פרג חוזרת לחברון ועוקבת במשך יום אחד אחר חמש קריאות המואזין לתפילה ("אד'אן"), וחושפת בפנינו את הצורה שבה בירוקרטיית השליטה על המרחב הדתי נפגשת עם היסטוריה פוליטית וריטואלים דתיים דיון בעקבות ההקרנה: יו“ר: ד“ר אסף תמרי, אקדמיית פולונסקי, מכון ון ליר בירושלים.

דוברת: ד“ר יעל שנקר, בית הספר לאמנויות הקול והמסך המכללה האקדמית ספיר ואוניברסיטת פלורידה


Tel Aviv Museum

Private collections