"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Israeli Arab Women and their struggle for Equality

Crossing Borders (Bilal Yousef, 2007) is a documentary about two Israeli Muslim women who are grappling with the role set for women in their society. The film portrays their struggle for equality at home, in their personal lives, and also in their community.

Aisha is from the village of Arara, a married woman and mother. She says that just a few years ago she didn't know anything about the massacre at Kafr Kassem or the Nakba. Now she is learning and becoming more active in political issues. During the course of the film we follow her developing feminist perspective, her self-realization and her changing relationship with her husband. As she exercises her need to become independent, she finds work in a women's association.

Omaima is a single woman, a teacher, from Taibe. She is critical of the status of women in Islam and in her society. She wants to be equal to men and to do the things that men do, so she goes to drink coffee in the Jewish town of Kfar Saba because she can't go to a coffee shop in Taibe. In order to raise the consciousness of other women, she decides to run for city council on the Hadash list. Omaima complains that women in the Arab community are considered successful and fulfilled only if they are married with children.

A look at the empowerment of women, this film provides insight into the limitations on the one side, and the potential on the other, of Israeli Arab women.

Crossing Borders (58 min.) is available from Ruth Diskin Films

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