A film aiming to change Israel’s image around the world will premiere on
Independence Day, Israel’s 64th birthday, in 64 communities worldwide, the
film’s producers announced at a Jerusalem press conference this week.
film aims to follow up on the success of Start-Up Nation, the best-selling book
by Dan Senor and former Jerusalem Post editorial editor Saul Singer, which has
been translated into Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Portuguese,
French, German, Italian, Japanese and Turkish.
Titled Israel Inside: How
a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference, the 55-minute documentary attempts to
portray an often unreported side of Israel to the world. The film is narrated by
Dr. Tal Ben- Shahar, a best-selling author and former Harvard professor who
taught a popular Harvard course on positive psychology.
In the film,
Ben-Shahar examines the core character strengths that have enabled Israelis to
overcome challenges and turn a desert into a flourishing nation. It focuses on
Israel beyond conflict and national security, themes most often associated with
the country’s identity.
“By shifting the conversation and highlighting
the strength and resilience of the Jewish people in the face of adversity, there
is a hope that it may help in dealing with the conflict,” Ben-Shahar
At the press conference he said the film was about addressing misconceptions many people have about the Jewish state.
“While I think
about Israel as a country characterized by technology, and prosperity, they
think about camels, war, felafel,” he said. “The film is about changing the
conversation and changing that idea. We have a lot to celebrate as a
nation, so the film was made to highlight those aspects and to change the focus
people have about the country.”
Ben-Shahar is joined onscreen by Harvard
Prof. Alan Dershowitz and leading Israeli entrepreneurs, businessmen and
political figures, including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Better Place’s Shai
Agassi, venture capitalist Jonathan Medved, and Teva’s Eli Hurvitz who died in
Raphael Shore of JerusalemOnlineU, an online portal for Israel
and Jewish distance learning that utilizes film-based education programs,
produced the film. Shore wrote and produced the documentary films on radical
Islam and the Middle East.
Shore’s wife, Rebecca, was the head writer for
“The film aims to take ‘Start-Up Nation’ further and delve
deeper into the essence of what makes Israelis on an individual level do what we
do to thrive,” Rebecca Shore said.