Film on Israeli School Wins Oscar

A film about an Israeli school, “Strangers No More,” wins at the Oscars. Several other Jews, including Israelis, among the winners.

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Maayana Miskin, | updated: 15:34

Children of foreign workers
Children of foreign workers
Flash 90

Several Jews, some of them Israelis, were among the winners at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony in America. Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman, 29, won the Best Actress award for her performance in the movie Black Swan.

Portman also has declared a Zionistic endorsement of Hadassah Hospital, where she was born.

The movie The King's Speech won several prizes. Among the recipients were Emile Sherman, one of the producers, and writer David Seidler. Both Sherman and Seidler are Jewish.

Director and writer Susanne Bier won for her foreign-language film “In a Better World.” Bier is Jewish, and studied at the Betzalel Academy and Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

A documentary on a school in Tel Aviv, titled Strangers No More, also won a prize. The film focused on the Bialik-Rogozin School, where many students are the children of illegal foreign entrants to Israel.

Filmmakers Kirk Simon and Karen Goodman focused on children who fled “poverty, political adversity, and even genocide,” and noted their fears of deportation. In fact, almost all  foreign children born to illegal immigrants in Israel are born to parents who entered the country seeking work, and not fleeing genocide.

The government has granted several thousand migrants who were found to be fleeing genocide in Sudan permission to remain in the country. In addition, two out of three children of illegal entrants will be allowed to stay, while only those who arrived in Israel after the age of 13 or have lived in the country for less than five years will be told to leave.

However, media outlets continue to focus on the children facing deportation, in what Interior Minister Eli Yishai has condemned as “cynical use of these children for the purpose of their own ratings.” Filmmaker Kirk Simon has admitted that his goal in shooting the film was, in part, to affect Israeli policy, and has said that he hopes the award “will help bring needed attention to the issue of helping to keep the children of immigrant workers in Israel... These children should be able to stay and be educated at the Bialik-Rogozin School.”

Sources close to Yishai said Tuesday that the students who face deportation along with their parents – an estimated 25 percent of the Bialik-Rogozin student body – will be required to leave, as the United States and other countries do to illegal immigrants,  despite the movie.