A new 55-minute documentary, hosted by former Harvard lecturer Dr. Tal Ben Shahar, examines the accomplishments and fortitude of the modern state of Israel.
“The Israel I came back to was not the Israel I left,” Shachar said, recalling his previous visit 15 years earlier. “Israel had not only joined the 21st century; in many ways it was now leading the way,”
“When people think about Israel they think about war or religion, or even falafel, Shachar said. “But when I think about Israel I think about the triumph of the human spirit.”
“Israelis, surrounded by enemies, turned a desert with hardly any natural resources into a flourishing, productive and caring society.”
“The technology coming out of Israel is being used to connect the world, green the planet, save lives, and have fun,” he said.
“Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference” will be screened on PBS affiliate stations, in theaters, and in 85 communities in the United States, China, and India. The documentary will make its world premiere on the evening of April 16 at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where Ben-Shahar will address the audience.
The documentary was produced by The Jerusalem Online University in conjunction with award-winning documentarian Raphael Shore (“Relentless,” “Obsession,” and “The Third Jihad”).
Shore stressed that he doesn’t expect the documentary to change minds, but to give “the 70 percent of people who are indifferent about Israel, or feel fatigued by the discussion,” the basis to form an opinion. “Our goal is to create positive relationships with Israel and show the human face of Israel beyond the conflict,” he said.
Reflecting on his teaching experiences at Harvad, Shachar explained, “I can’t tell you how many students came to me and said how they felt so proud of Israel, of being Jewish, or of supporting the Jewish state. It changed the conversation around the country. And that’s what this film is about: changing the conversation, changing the focus. We know that focus creates reality. It’s not about ignoring Israel’s faults, but we have a lot to celebrate.”
The film “is about the heart of the Jewish people reaching out the heart of the world. That’s not hasbara [public relations]; that’s education,” asserted scriptwriter Rebecca Shore.
The movie will be shown at Rae Kushner High School in Livingston on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Cong. Ahavath Torah in Englewood the night of April 28, and at Cong. Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck on April 29.