Welcome to Israel, Screening Program [Video Zone 4]

Israeli reality has always been a fertile ground for visual documentation. The program introduces several representations of this reality: from an interview with “dead” soldiers in Amir Yatziv’s work, through a televised ridiculing of a common Israeli crowd by Yossi and Itamar, to David Reeb’s personal documentation of a demonstration against the Separation Wall. Outstanding in this program is the piece shot by 14-year old Palestinian Fida’ Abu ‘Ayesha, a resident of Hebron, depicting a settler’s attack on her family home.

The outrageous, shameful event was documented as part of the project “Shooting Back” launched by B’tzelem—an organization monitoring abuse of human rights in the Occupied Territories encouraging Palestinian witnesses to videotape instances of attack and abuse by Jewish settlers. The fragment shown here gained popularity in Israel and became iconic following its repeated enactment in a satirical TV program, thus transforming a private testimony into a public icon.

Amir Yatziv

Compressed Ceramic Powder (Battle in the Orchard), 2007 (Israel), [5:50] min A group of Israeli soldiers describe their last moments in combat, before their own deaths, thus enacting the ultimate soldier’s fantasy: to just die in battle, become a hero, and subsequently be interviewed about it.

Yossi Atia & Itamar Rose

Shirutrom (Telethon), 2006 (Israel), [8:00] The Shirutrom is held annually to raise funds for the benefit of IDF soldiers, in collaboration with Israeli Channel 2. Yossi and Itamar go to Or Yehuda dressed as soldiers to gather food donations for the troops by going door to door, thus reinforcing the absurdity of the event whereby the richest organization in the country begs for donations.

Fida’ Abu ‘Ayesha 

Sharmuta/Settlers at the Door, 2006 (Palestine), [7:00] The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem, launched the “Shooting Back” project, providing Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories with video cameras to document harassments and abuse by settlers. One of the better-known films created in this context, Sharmuta (a derogatory Arabic word meaning whore) was filmed by 14-year old Fida’ Abu ‘Ayesha. It shows a female Jewish settler standing in front of the lattice door of Abu ‘Ayesha house, preventing her from leaving her home. The settler stands in front of the door, cursing the girl, while a soldier stands behind the settler, doing nothing to stop her.

David Reeb

Curfew in Ni’ilin, 2008 (Israel), [6:00] The Palestinian village of Ni’ilin has had a significant part of its remaining land severed by the Separation Wall erected nearby. This short video piece documents a visit to the village organized by AATW (Anarchists Against the Wall) in July 2008, at a time when a total curfew was imposed on the village, and the press was prevented entry. It provides a glimpse into the villagers’ everyday routine during this period. Translation: Yousef Asfour

Malki Tesler

Playground, 2008 (Israel), [8:00] Malki Tesler conquers a slide in a children’s playground. She sits on it and refuses to move. The film evolves mainly around the reactions of the parents whose children’s play has been interrupted. The reactions develop into near-violence, exposing the absurd gravity by which parents protect their children’s sacred rights. 

Artur ֵ»mijewski

Itzik, 2003 (Poland), [5:05]
Itzik is one of those guys we all know. He knows better; he thinks he has the right to preach and persuade. Street wise, he offers an illiterate view of reality. 

Yossi Atia & Itamar Rose

The State of Judeo-Arabia, 2007 (Israel), [4:30]
Yossi and Itamar go to the Arab-Israeli cities of Taybeh and Tira, trying to establish a bi-national, Palestinian-Israeli state by the name Judeo-Arabia with the local citizens. They hold auditions for the first Arab Chief of Staff, paint a new flag, and choose a new enemy for the state of Judeo-Arabia.

Nira Pereg

Sabbath 2008, 2008 (Israel), [7:12]
Sabbath 2008 documents the barring of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in and around Jerusalem as the Sabbath enters. In most cases, this involves temporary barriers which stay put for 24 hours, thus creating an artificial partition between ultra-Orthodox areas and the rest of the city. The barricades are installed by the residents themselves, with the authorization and support of the Jerusalem municipality and the local police. Once they are installed, cars are prevented entry into the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, and Jerusalem is thus topologically transformed into two cities: one with cars, and the otherג€”car-free. In keeping with this custom, Sabbath 2008 is a photographic ritual performed at designated times and places. While the barriers may appear symbolic and rickety, their installation is a source of conflict, marking clear-cut boundaries between secular and sacred, between present and past. 

Avi Mograbi 

Detail 4, 2004 (Israel), [5:00]
Camera: Philippe Bellaiche 
A celebration of the inauguration of the Rabbi Meir Kahana (founder of the Jewish ultra-nationalist movement KACH) Bible College in Tapuach, a Jewish settlement in the Occupied Territories.

Dana Tal 

Two Hands and a Stick, 2008 (Israel), [1:15]
A view of Israel’s national anthem through the encounter between a pair of hands and a stick. 

Curators: Galit Eilat (Director of the Digital Art Center, Holon) and Sergio Edelsztein (Director of the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv)