Jewish Dream - Arab Nightmare - The Creation of Israel

Jewish Dream - Arab Nightmare - The Creation of Israel

May 14,1948 was a fateful day for both Jews and Arabs - and its consequences are still felt in world politics today. For Jews, it marked the end of 2,000 years of exile and the proclamation of the State of Israel. For Palestinians, this date symbolizes the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" that saw a mass exodus and displacement from their homes and villages.

This documentary, shot in 2008, illustrates historical events through the accounts of Jewish and Palestinian protagonists, who recount their personal stories vividly and largely free from ideological positions. To mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel, we recall their stories. Danny Angel, a Jewish baker's son, was born in 1919. His family had lived in Jerusalem for eight generations. As a child, he experienced little tension between Jews and Arabs. He studied in Beirut, where he met his wife, a Lebanese Jew. By the 1930s, however, the Palestine of his childhood had begun to change. The mid-1930s marked the beginning of the "Arab revolt", led in part by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, an admirer of Adolf Hitler. Danny Angel joined the Haganah, the Jewish underground militia, later fighting in the British Army's Jewish brigade and finally in the Israeli army. Above all, however, he fought for what he had known in his childhood: peaceful coexistence.

Saada Suleiman is an Arab woman from a village near Haifa, in the north of what was then Palestine. She used to tend sheep and goats, whose milk she sold to Jews from the neighboring village. But fighting broke out between Jews and Arabs in the winter of 1947 and the local imam asked the villagers to flee. Saada and her family went to Lebanon, expecting to return in a few days. In 2008, Saada was 86 years old and still living in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon - stateless and without the right to own property. Danny Angel and Saada Suleiman: two of seven protagonists whose stories illustrate how a conflict over a small piece of land and a longing for home became a tragedy for both peoples.

Esther Eisen was the only one in her family to survive the Holocaust. She and Jakob, her great love, left for Israel to start a new life. Jakob soon went to war to defend the newly-proclaimed nation against the combined invasion from several Arab states. Jacob was killed and left Esther alone - a widow at the age of twenty. Abdel Al Jamal was an Arab boy who once played football with his Jewish neighbors. Then the war broke out and his family fled. He and his mother were allowed to return to their hometown of Akko, which now belonged to Israel, while his older brother had to stay in Lebanon. The two brothers haven't seen each other since. Amidst the intensity of current political debates, these stories from the early days of the State of Israel have largely been forgotten - but the present cannot be understood without them.


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