'In Our Hands' Poster.
(photo credit: CBN)
“This makes the Jews’ return here impossible,” Col. Abdullah el-Tell of the Arab Legion said during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 as he expelled the remaining residents of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter and ensured that none of the buildings remained intact.
Against this backdrop, the Christian Broadcasting Network’s film “In Our Hands” opens, setting the stage for the miracles of the 1967 Six Day War. For 19 years, from Jordan’s invasion and occupation in 1948, no Jew was allowed to visit the Western Wall or any other Jewish sites in Jerusalem’s Old City. All that changed with Israel’s lightning victory in the war.
CBN had a huge task in front of itself. Out of all of Israel’s wars, the Six Day War is likely the most memorable and problematic. It involved the defeat of three enemy armies, the liberation and capture of huge swaths of territory, including the eastern portion of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and has seen the political repercussions of the military operation continue until today – and all this transpiring in six days.
The film succeeds in going into great depth, but not bogging down the viewer with too much information. But this is more than just a documentary. This is a detailed description of the emotional roller coaster that Israel and its citizens have experienced throughout their history, with the focal point being the Six Day War and the events surrounding it.
The documentary is divided up into chapters, with each portions featuring testimony from IDF soldiers who took part in the battles to liberate Jerusalem, archival footage and a dramatized reenactment filmed on location in Israel.
The opening scene of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook “prophesying” about the return of the holy cities of Hebron, Jericho and Shechem, featured in April’s Jerusalem Post
- Christian Edition monthly magazine, is one that is not so well-known even among today’s public in Israel. But this important episode makes it clear that while yes, Israel’s military dominance was the result of superior tactics and training, the hand of God can clearly be seen in the events that took place in a mere six days.
Regarding the depth of the film, it sometimes draws back from the excitement of the battle. As the soldiers are entering the Lions’ Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, as a viewer I wanted to take IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s hand and just run with him wherever he went in what he described after the war as being dream-like. The slow pace and multiple interviews at this critical moment wasn’t the best way to show how exciting it truly was to make it as a soldier to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
Nonetheless, the reenactments at the wall are touching and inspiring, such as the one of the colonel helping an Arab woman give birth, or a soldier teaching his friend how to pray, or the officer telling his colleague to say the “hallel” prayer for happy days and not the “tachanun” prayer for sad days, but with the loss of life he can’t bring himself to say the “tachanun.”
Also, CBN needs to be commended that it didn’t stray away from the controversy of the Temple Mount. After Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan arrived he saw the Israeli flag flying from the Temple Mount he immediately tells the commander to remove it. As the narrator says, soldiers found a less controversial place to hang the flag, near the Western Wall.
This fair narrative tone is the one taken throughout the film, and while sometimes the religious viewer may find it a bit annoying to hear a voice go against beliefs that are crucial to Judaism or Christianity, it is a fair narration and one that continuously gives the filmmaker the objective authority to continue telling the story.
The film will surely be a hit with the Jewish audience – one that has grown up on the infamous radio recordings of the secular reporter’s trembling voice as he says he is touching the stones of the Western Wall, hearing IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s famous blast of the shofar followed by the “Shehecheyanu” blessing reserved for special times and of course Paratrooper Commander Motta Gur’s shouting of “The Temple Mount is in our hands.”
The Christian faithful who remember the victory will also be moved at getting an up close and personal feel to the events they only managed to read about in the newspapers. The only question that remains is how will the young Christian audience take to it. Hopefully they too will be able to see God’s hand in the war, recognizing that after 2,000 years the Jewish people came back to life, only asking to have back what it lost two millennia ago.
In Our Hands is a one-night Fathom Events presentation from CBN Documentaries. It will be playing in more than 700 cinemas in the US on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 7 p.m. local time and in Canada on May 29. More information can be found at http://inourhands1967.com/sign up to our newsletter