I stand with the Israeli filmmakers who are calling for a cease fire. The Five Books of Moses (also known as the Old Testament) and the Prophets said that
the Jews in Israel (and throughout the world) were called upon to be a light among the nations to bring peace to the world. All nations were to ascend upon
the mount in Jerusalem (where the Temple once stood and now stands the Mosque with the Golden Dome), in Peace and Harmony. That vision has retreated so far
away that it can barely be recalled in one’s imagination.
In a statement during the current Jerusalem Film Festival, directors Keren Yedaya, Tali Shalom, Nadav Lapid, Efrat Corem, Shira Geffen, Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz, and Bozi Gete — said “in these violent days, it is impossible to talk only about cinema while ignoring the killing and horrifying events around
Yedaya and Shira Geffen read names of children who have been killed in Gaza in the past week — which they noted was “not an act of provocation, it’s
natural to give them a name and remember.” One of the children killed was just 18 months old.
Shlomi Elkabetz, who teaches cinema at Sapir Film School near the Gaza border, said: “It’s important to say we try to use this stage and take a stand with
the voice that is given to us as artists and creators…it’s important to us to bring to the surface what we feel and what many others feel. We hope it falls
on ears that are not blocked.”
The death toll in Gaza stands at more than 150 people. Air raid sirens could be heard around the festival in Jerusalem this week, and many international
guests cancelled their trips to the festival for safety or political reasons.
The full statement issued by the Israeli directors:
We, the undersigned, Israeli directors whose films participate in the Jerusalem Film Festival, believe that in these violent days, it is impossible to
talk only about cinema while ignoring the killing and horrifying events around us.
We are scared too. Some of us are parents. Our children are terrified of the code red sirens and of the thundering sounds of warfare. We do not seek
revenge and do not believe in a military solution; this has proven futile in the past.
Children in Gaza do not enjoy the protection of the Iron Dome systems. They have no residential secured spaces, and no sirens.
Children living in Gaza today are our partners in peace tomorrow. The killing and horror we inflict only push any diplomatic solution further away.
Cameras here, in Israel, film and tell about the suffering and pain of Israeli citizens subject to missile attacks. They do this on a daily basis. It
is important for us to state that we deeply sympathize with Israelis living in Southern Israel, who have found themselves in the battlefront. They are
innocent men, women and children that have lived through an unimaginable nightmare for years. They are entitled to full protection, but there is
another way! A dialogue must be established, an acknowledgment of the suffering of the other. Today, we want to direct those cameras to the suffering
of Gaza residents, men, women and children killed during the last few days. Those filming the suffering of Israelis should be courageous and honest
enough to film the killing and destruction in Gaza as well, and tell that story as well. The pain of Israelis and Palestinians is intertwined, and the
first cannot cease as long as the other continues.
The “life goes on” conception, by which surrounding events cannot and will not affect our everyday dealings, is morally impossible. In these terrible
days, we as artists and creators expect from ourselves, the festival’s administration, the spectators and the media to use this event to issue a clear,
loud cry for change.
We call the Israeli government to cease fire; we urge it not to send our troops to be killed again, in another pointless, cruel military campaign; we
call it to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Palestinian people and its leaders, to achieve a viable peace for both sides.
Signed: Efrat Corem, Shira Geffen, Ronit Elkabetz, Keren Yedaya, Tali Shalom Ezer, Nadav Lapid. Shlomi Elkabetz, Bozi Gete.