By Arieh O’Sullivan / The Media Line ~
A new Israeli documentary that is expected to be screened across the U.S. in April has an ambitious goal: Change the way people think about Israel and refocus on its innovations and spirit,
instead of wars, religion and falafel.
“Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference” tells the story of Israelis’ unique characteristics that have made their country the so-called Start-Up Nation, a moniker derived from its absurdly abnormal pace of high-tech inventions.
Aimed for release to mark Israel’s 64th anniversary, the producers enlisted Tal Ben Shahar, a former Harvard professor of psychology and best-selling author, to narrate the film. Examining his reasons for leaving behind a promising career in the U.S. to return to his native Israel, Ben Shahar highlights what is so special about the Jewish state.
“When I think about Israel, I think about the triumph of the human spirit …about a country beyond the conflict cliches and controversies and that’s where I wanted to be,” he says. “This film is about changing the conversation, changing the focus about Israel,”
“We are stepping up and saying ‘This is the real Israel’,” said Rebecca Shore, the film’s head writer. “It’s not just about flexing our muscles but telling others that they can succeed like Israel too.”
The producers of the film have arranged for it to be broadcast on half a dozen Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations in the U.S. and shown at 64 events marking Israel Independence Day across America. They said they have also arranged for it to be shown at Jewish summer camps, community centers, synagogues and on campuses.
Says Ben Shahar: “I’m for the day when people don’t talk about Israel [in the media] but changing the conversation is the key issue right now. I teach that distraction is not ignoring a problem. Distraction could change the focus and take the conversation to a higher level.”
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