Monday, June 29, 2009

Israel: Rise of the Right (Film Review)

7 of the Fourth Month 5769

Tonight, a couple of friends began alerting me about a film just released by Ilan Mizrahi, "Israel: Rise of the Right."
(AlJazeeraEnglish YouTube) Ilan Mizrahi has spent 16 years photographing and filming right wing Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron. His film, Israel: Rise of the Right, looks at the followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane, an American-born rabbi and politician who proposed the mass expulsion of Arabs from Israel before he was assassinated in 1990.

I immediately began asking around who this guy was, whether it was a hack job, or worth watching because [as has been said in Rabbi Binyamin Kahane's HY"D name] "We want everyone to think we are crazy. Then maybe they will leave us alone."

The answer I got from my friend, political activist, the "Kalashnikover Rebbe" was quite surprising:

There are a few facts wrong here and there, but it wasn't biased at all, shockingly so. He focused all on Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir. He did not acknowledge the other factions and Kahanists, but not to anyone's detriment.

Ilan Mizrahi has even given over footage which served to exonerate Jews in court. So, so it is clear he is not out to get us.

I think it was a nice job. He filmed us for years. He has even become a "part of the community," and a regular presence at all our "events."

The four parts of the film are embedded below, together totaling 46 minutes. The film is mostly in Hebrew with English subtitles, with narration in English. When I finish the entire series, I will issue an update with synopses and commentary.

In the meantime, whether you are religious or secular, right or left-identified, check it out, and judge for yourselves.

Part 1 includes scenes of police treatment of protesters, the court battle to march in the Israeli Arab city of Um Al-Fahm, and the ironic appointment of Baruch Marzel to supervise the balloting in that cities during the Shevat 5769/February, 2009 Israeli Elections.

What I found interesting about Part 2 was that the accusations shouted by Arabs regarding a fascist [Israeli] state are much the same as I would hear [and sometimes say myself] in the [minority] Torah-loyal towns in the Shomron (Samaria). Also,...

1. Many of the "600 extremists" living in Hevron are actually somewhat mamlakhi (state-loyal) with a lot of cognitive dissonance. But, as the local saying goes, "A Hevron mamlakhi is nothing like an Ofra mamlakhi." Hardly extremists, they are simply pushed farther and more often than most other towns.

2. Purim is NOT the "Jewish Halloween." OY!

3. Like in Part 1, I got to see a lot of friends and acquaintances, like Gil'ad Pollack, who once described for me being [completely] strip-searched on the street and in front of female officers. Now, B"H, Gil'ad is married with children, but continues to be moser nefesh (self-sacrificing). Many "hilltop youth" get married young, like in many Haredi communities. Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D once said that the greatest weapon the Arabs had was,...babies. His followers got the message. Fortunately, leftist and "post-Zionist" secularists did not. The birthrates of religious communities continues to be greater than nonreligious communities.

Part 3 mentions Eden Natan-Zada HY"D. I, myself, did not get to go to Eden's funeral. I knew him, though, I remember him as a sensitive and kind, young man.

This part then shifts to singer Dov Shurin. Apparently, the courts cannot touch him for any "incitement," as he only uses p'suqim (verses) from Tana"kh (Bible). However, we must not get complacent. I believe that it is only a matter of time before the Erev Rav-controlled government of Israel (GOI) attempts to censor Holy texts. Think I am crazy? Former MK Yossi Sarid (Mere"tz) already proposed such a measure back in 1998, to cancel the reading of Megillath Esther on Purim, due to its "racism."

There is mention of the pogrom at Amona. Sultan Knish provides a comprehensive set of Amona videos, I recommend over the limited footage included in this film.

Later, Gil'ad (8:20) provides his perspective on the "Arab-Israeli Conflict."

Part 4 begins with the situation of those Jews who were forcibly removed from their homes in Azza, back in 5765/2005. The film shows their makeshift bomb shelters they have been having to depend on to protect them from the barrage of rockets fired from Hamas in Azza.

This part goes onto the elections, including the election of Dr. Micha'el Ben-Ari (National Union) to Knesseth. (By the way, the Likud Party is not, I repeat not, a right-wing party.*)

The film culminates with the "Flag March" in Um Al-Fahm, the court battle of which was presented in the beginning of Part 1.


*There is no such thing as "right" or "left," only Jewish and un-Jewish.


Anonymous said...


On "Israel: Rise of the Right” video

Over and above the instant pleasure of seeing friends and acquaintances, as well as myself, this report does bring to the forth a number of disturbing issues and questions. So, let's look at them one by one separately, not forgetting that in real life they present themselves together, providing a powerful lens that distorts reality.

- The author, filmmaker and commentator, Ilan Mizrahi’s ideology is in doubt. Is he a Kahaneist? In the milieu he is perceived as a such, yet his work is co-signed by Al Jazeera, a network that openly supports Israel’s enemies, like Hezbollah. If he is a Kahaneist, is it kosher for him to sell himself and his work to the enemy? On the other hand, if he is not a Kahaneist, how come that he enjoyed and continues to enjoy the status of an “insider”? He says of himself: “I followed Ben-Gvir for 15 years and I earned his trust”. As if he was saying to us “I’m a spy, I successfully infiltrated the organization”.

- The film is introduced by a voice, declaring the shift in Israeli politics to the right at the last elections as “dangerous”.

- Not only. Un-Jewish terminology like “West Bank”, “Settlements”, Settlers”, “Occupied Palestinian Territory” etc. does creep in to the reporting.

- The film is centered around the “Israeli flag march” on Uhm al-Fahm, an Arab village in Israel. This by itself is problematic. As it was important for the organizers to present the march as a “success”, so it was for the secular and “democratic” State and for the Police too: an unnatural and temporary association was established. To lie. My comment on the issue ( was censored by ynet.

- Reporting the National Union party’s activity and activists as “Israel’s right” is questionable. There are other people and other groups doing things, like the followers of Mr. Feiglin who join him in licking the boots of the Likud party. At last but not at least there are a good number of those who, like myself, don’t believe in the participation in the state’s “democratic” institutions: no change can come from inside the anti-Torah establishment. As Jews we are told to thrive for and establish our Jewish, Torah institutions in Eretz Israel. The Beit HaMigdash, the King, the Sanhedrin and courts of justice in every village. As Jews that is what we should be doing, instead of participating as parties, candidates and even as voters, in elections. Presenting petitions to the “high court" is outright idol worshipping in my eyes.

Esser Agaroth said...

You make some good points, especially about the misuse of the right wing label.

No one says he's "kosher," just not as bad as the usual tripe.

Also, you and I have discussed about how it may be a positive thing that we're portrayed as nuts. Then maybe they'll leave us alone.

I do not believe it's avodah zarah to petition the court, a waste of time maybe, but avodah zarah? No.

If you want to argue that they are giving credence and legitimacy to the courts by accessing it, you could say that.

You and I both know that Itamar did not think he was going to get approval. He wanted to use the system to prove that it wasn't fair.

I, too, was disappointed when I heard what you had to say about what really happened at the march, and thought it a bit silly to declare it a victory.

Anonymous said...

Ariel Ben Yochanan (Andras Bereny) said...

like the followers of Mr. Feiglin who join him in licking the boots of the Likud party.

How will you ask all of us for forgiveness for this public Motzi Shem Rah of yours?

So much for hastening Binyan Beit Hamikdash.

Anonymous said...

B"H To Shy Guy

I won't. It is clear that the laws governing Lashon Hora can not be applied to public figures on issues of public debate. It also is clear that we are told to do certain things in the Land: to build the Beit HaMigdash, establish a King over ourselves, set up the Sanhedrin and courts of justice in every village. This is the Jewish Torah institutional system and Jews should be doing that. Jews that partecipate in the Hellenistic knesset, either as parties or as candidates or as simple voters are like those Jews who went to Ahasuerus' banquet. It is not allowed to mix un-Jewish things with Jewish things and just because everybody does it doesn't make it either right nor Jewish. You are publicly istagiting me to sin, which is a capital crime. So, I'd be very careful if I were you.