It is interesting to learn about the foster care system in Israel since it is a reflection of how a country grapples with serious social problems and how it takes care of its children. I recently had the opportunity to watch A Waste of Space, directed by Noam Demsky and Ido Bahat, a documentary film about teenagers who are turning 18 and completing the foster system. The film offers a surprisingly touching and meaningful handling of the subject, portraying the story of three compelling Israeli teenagers who are navigating their way, each trying to find the best way to get on with their lives.
When Michelle’s father died, about 2 ½ years ago, she was placed in foster care with the family of her high school principal in Jerusalem’s Beit Hakerem neighborhood. Now Michelle is finishing her matriculation exams and being drafted into the army. Her foster parents only want what is best for her.
Fourteen years ago, Eitan was taken into foster care. He is a boy from Beersheba, whose parents were immigrants from Kavkaz (Caucasus), and he was brought up by an Ashkenazi family in Ramat Gan. Eitan is about to be drafted into the artillery and he is taking his girlfriend home to meet his biological father in Beersheba.
Two years ago, Osher was placed in foster care with a family in Kibbutz Kalia. Osher writes and loves music.
The film exposes some of the difficulties of the reality of foster care. Eitan’s foster mother, for example, explains the terrible dilemma of being a foster parent. On the one hand, you don’t want to become too attached to the child, because you might lose him. On the other hand, you realize that for the sake of the child, you must become attached. Participating in a seminar for young people a few months before they are to be moved out of foster care, these young adults expose themselves, opening up and talking about their fears and hopes for what lies ahead.
A Waste of Space (documentary, 59 minutes) can be obtained from Noam Demsky, at firstname.lastname@example.org.