‘Activism, sensitivity’: Life of fallen female soldier showcased in new exhibition

“Throughout the work on the exhibition, we discovered how much, even during her short life, she managed to touch so many people.”

By Aryeh Savir/TPS

Border Police soldier Hadas Malka, who was killed in a terrorist attack almost six years ago, is the focus of a traveling exhibition that illuminates the image of Hadas and her legacy, that of devotion to Jerusalem, to her country, a life of dedication.

In June 2017, three Arab terrorists armed with guns and knives attacked Border Police troops securing the Damascus Gate area in Jerusalem. The troops neutralized two of the terrorists, when the third who managed to escape towards the Damascus Gate and attacked Hadas with a knife.

Hadas was evacuated in critical condition to Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was 23 years old.

19-year-old Hadar Cohen was also killed in the shooting and stabbing attack.

The death of the two female soldiers in battle sent shock waves throughout the country.

Her parents, David and Geula Malka, say their daughter was characterized by “diligence and action,” and “was a model who inspired those around her. Power, activism, sensitivity, determination, and daring were an integral part of her, as well as her wide smile.”

The exhibition in her memory presents two timelines: the first is Hadas’ path from her enlistment to the army and the Border Police to her death based on texts she wrote, some of which were taken from her Facebook page, and the second is based on the memories of the soldiers she commanded and the people she touched during her life. The exhibition includes obituaries from the time of her death in battle until now.

David and Geula shared that “the idea for the exhibition was formed after we were exposed to things she wrote, expressed, and photographed during her period as a fighter and commander. Hadas was a special daughter, an amazing, powerful, patriotic, and exceptionally valued girl. After her death, we found many photographs and texts she wrote which allowed us to bring Hadas’ special story to the general public, in a credible and unmediated way.”

The curators of the exhibition are Inbal Marili and Sharon Israeli, graduates of the Department of Visual Communication at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.

“Throughout the work on the exhibition, we discovered how much, even during her short life, she managed to touch so many people. ‘So that its light will not cease to shine,’” they said.

One panel showcases Hadas’ leadership of a project in which soldiers visited Holocaust survivors. Another panel highlights her dedication to the troops she commanded and their gratitude to her.

Retired Deputy Superintendent Gideon Mor, a friend of the family, told TPS while visiting the exhibit that its essence is “the notion of a life mission and the belief in the mission,” and “Hadas expresses in the most explicit way the idea of defending the homeland, of service.”

The exhibit shows “that she was successful in inspiring others to follow this path. Her courageous personality realized these values, and unfortunately, in her death as well.”