"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, October 11, 2011

Peace – In our lifetime?

Today's headline in Ha'aretz says that our prime minister wants to legalize the so-called "illegal" outposts (settled by young people who are often called "hilltop youth").  What is happening in this country?  This government is completely apathetic to its responsibilities to the "road map" or to any previous peace agreements with the Palestinians. 

We talk about a solution that will include "two states for two peoples".  But how can we move forward with peace negotiations if we can't even uproot the illegal outposts!

Evacuation has actually become an ugly word, ever since the evacuation of Gush Katif.  In fact, a very large sector of the population, especially the Gush Emunim movement (an extreme wing of the modern orthodox community), has no intention of evacuating anything! 

Yesterday, when I was viewing films at the Ma'aleh School of Film and Television, I saw three short, compelling dramas on this subject, all of which provide insight to the plight of the settlers.

Evacuation Order, directed by Shoshi Greenfield, (13 minutes, 2001), is a comic fantasy.  Two soldiers, a guy and a gal, are sent to evacuate an illegal outpost -- a caravan on a lonely hilltop.  Each one falls in love with one of the hippy settlers living there.  Along comes their young commander whose reaction is: What do I care, I think it's immoral to evacuate people from their homes.  When more soldiers are sent to evacuate the hilltop, each is quickly married off to one of the girls and the new couple gets a tent on the hillside, until the hill is dotted with tents.  A bit over-the-top but certainly a creative way to combat any government policy on evacuation!

The Divide, directed by Tzvi Yehuda Herling (23 minutes), is about a family living at Gush Katif which has received an evacuation order.  The father, who was a hero in the army in his day, can't stand the sight of his son's military uniform and he shouts at him and asks him – what will you do if you get a command to evacuate us?  The family is modern orthodox and the havdalah ceremony is used to make a metaphorical statement about the holy and the profane – the family life on their piece of land is holy and the army is coming to destroy it.

The Ranch, directed by Ohad Domb (22 minutes), is the story of a father and son, living together in the Wild West.  The son rides around on horseback, the father totes his machine gun and takes the law into his own hands against the local Arabs who are stealing their sheep.  This family was evacuated from Yamit years ago, and now they are being evacuated from Gush Katif.  The father, who had repeatedly shouted his anti-evacuation ideology, realizes that he must accept his fate. But his son is angry and not willing to give up without a fight.

All three short dramas are available from the Ma'aleh School.

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