This Week From Israel: End of an Era, The Israel Film Council’s Chairman, and more!

Hosted by IZZY founder Josh Hoffman, This Week From Israel is a podcast that publishes new episodes every Tuesday!

Listen directly below, as well as on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, RadioPublic, Breaker, and Pocket Casts.

Episode Rundown

Topic of the Week: The End of an Era

Source: Benjamin Netanyahu/Twitter

At least for now, Benjamin Netanyahu’s 14 years as Prime Minister have come to an end, with a new government just installed here in Israel.

This is truly the end of an era. Just in numbers, 14 years in the State of Israel’s 73-year history represents nearly 20 percent of Israel’s modern history. 20 percent. Think about that.

Bibi was born in Tel Aviv in 1949. His father was a world-renowned historian, and Bibi was raised in Jerusalem before the family moved to the United States, where he attended high school in Philadelphia.

In 1973, Bibi became a captain in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit of the Israeli army, after taking part in raids on Jordan and Lebanon and fighting in the Yom Kippur War.

In 1976, Bibi graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but ended his doctorate studies in political science to return to Israel, when his brother Yoni became the only Israeli commando killed in the Entebbe raid to free passengers from a hijacked plane in Uganda.

In 1996, Bibi was elected Israel’s youngest-ever prime minister at the age of 46. He later lost to Ehud Barak and took a break from politics.

In 2009, Bibi was re-elected Israel’s prime minister, beginning his record 12 consecutive years in charge. And in 2019, Bibi was indicted for bribery, fraud, and breach of public trust after a three-year corruption investigation that could put him in jail.

Over the course of Bibi’s recent 12-year tenure, Israel has enjoyed great success: a great economy and strong Israeli shekel, record tourism year after year, seemingly unlimited foreign investment both in startups and real estate, four historic normalization agreements with Arab states.

So what do we make of Bibi? What will be his legacy?

A few years ago, I came across a quote from the great Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius. It goes like this:

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.”

Now more than ever, we are so quick to judge other people, especially people in the public eye. Athletes, celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs. Do people in the public eye have more responsibility than the so-called average person to be and do better? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Do many of us also judge many of these people in the same way we judge ourselves? Each person can answer that for him and herself, but if Marcus Aurelius’ quote means anything to you like it does to me, I hope we can focus less on how other people could and should be better, and more on our individual selves, and how each one of us can be better and do better every day.

Watch Bibi in the feature film Sabena Hijacking now streaming on IZZY!

Someone Special – Eyal Boers

Eyal Boers is one of Israel’s top film experts.

In 2011, he was appointed head of the film and television track at Ariel University’s Moskowitz School of Communication. And in 2018, Eyal was named chairman of the Israel Film Council.

He was also a member of the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum from 2008 to 2018, as well as a member of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television from 2014 to 2018.

In addition, Eyal has participated in the production of four titles, including producing and directing the feature documentary film Live or Die In Entebbe, which you can watch on IZZY.

I caught up with Eyal to learn more about Israeli cinema. Check out my interview with him.

One Good Thing

Citizen of the cinema, from our friends at The Jerusalem Post

Ronny Fellus is the founder of two Italian-themed film festivals in Israel: Film Festival Cinema Italia and Finita La Commedia.

His passion for cinema and for connecting Italians and Israelis through films brought him back to Israel.

“I wanted to do something more creative,” he says. As he has always felt a connection to Israel and Jewish culture, he began to become more active in the Jewish community of Rome. Fellus organized holiday gatherings and “Jewish Book Days” for the local Jewish community. In 2006 he organized the first Israeli Film Festival in Rome, which became the turning point in his life. It was a great success and reached way beyond the Jewish community.

And in 2013, during the Tel Aviv-based Doc Aviv film festival, he had a revelation: Just as there is the Israeli Film Festival in Rome, he thought, there should be a mirror festival of Italian movies in Israel.

A year later, Cinema Italia had its first edition in Israel, and in 2016, Ronny founded the second festival in Israel, dedicated specifically to Italian comedies, which also became a fixture on the local cultural calendar.

In 2019, Ronny left Tuscany (and his own olive tree orchards where he still produces high-quality olive oil today) and Rome, where he lived for most of his life, to return to Tel Aviv, where he was born.

“Anyone who meets Ronny Fellus at least once thinks of him as an expert on movies,” Basia Monka writes in The Jerusalem Post.

“I am not an expert,” Ronny says. “I am the biggest lover of the cinema.”

Speaking of film festivals, Israel’s top film festivals are returning to theaters throughout the summer, as more coronavirus regulations are lifted every week. The lineup includes:

🎞 Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival – June 20-26
🎬 Docaviv – July 1-10
🍿 Jerusalem Film Festival – August 24-September 4

The Haifa International Film Festival, traditionally held during the Jewish holiday, Sukkot, in autumn, will also be returning as usual.

Tune in every Tuesday for a new This Week From Israel episode, and be sure to check out previous episodes as well!

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