Novak created the concept of "Galei-Ed" 1980 at the
request of an Israeli military unit commander to remember seventeen
fallen soldiers under his command. That request, after nineteen years of
living abroad was taken by Novak as a most Israeli, rewarding, spiritual
challenge. At the gathering of the unitís twenty veterans on Novakís
studio terrace in the heart of Tel-Aviv, a unanimous agreement to
Novakís proposed design and conditions was signed by all present as a
memorandum. Novakís conditions were: a) no monetary involvement of any
kind, no compensation to Novak. b) the mounds to be done exclusively
under Novakís supervision a-z.
c) the reserve unitís members, their families and friends, and the
families of the fallen seventeen will form the volunteer labor force to
accomplish the job.
The mounds idea was drawn from ancient remains as antecedent of
successive mid-eastern periods, stone pilings done for ritual rather
than for function. They were to be created southwest of Jerusalem, the
mounds were shaped as equal spheres ,to rise above ground at varied
heights, and seemingly positioned at random within the perimeter of an
irregular and elongated pine grove. That plan was initiated by Novak
marking the seventeen mound centers, designing tools for the piling
control, and devising a system for future flag mountings on each of the
mounds on assembly days, leaving the grove center space for a picnic
style gathering, and planning for one modest bronze plaque at the
approach to the site. As much as the first stone gathering working day
of hundreds was truly most emotional and inspirational for Novak, past
that day, the commander, his subordinate officers, and the entire unit
and their families inflicted on Novak the worst betrayal of his entire
life as an artist.
They cut him off, hired Arab laborers for the job, and did whatever they
did, announcing by phone their conclusion, a call which Novak hung up on
vowing to never visit the site again, cutting all contacts with the unit
members and their families.