Despite concerns about the risks, top masterworks are frequently exhibited in Israeli museums on loan from world institutions and collectors. Displaying masterpieces is a trickier proposition in the West Bank: It took yearlong negotiations with Israel’s army and Dutch museum officials to get a $7 million Pablo Picasso masterpiece safely into a West Bank gallery in 2011.
Only a few rockets have whistled over the skies of Tel Aviv during the current conflict, and the city is considered safer than other Israeli towns along the Gaza border. So the Tel Aviv museum let southern Israelis visit the museum for free — and reduced admission for everyone else to account for the 200 or so missing spots on the museum walls. The Israel Museum and Eretz Israel Museum also offered free and discounted entry.
The works moved into the safes in Tel Aviv and Ashdod were mostly pieces on loan from private collectors.
‘‘If they survived 800 years before they got here, we have to do the utmost, for the good of humanity, so they will survive at least another 500 years,’’ said Lurie.
Estrin reported from Jerusalem. Follow Estrin at www.twitter.com/danielestrin