A Foreign Ministry-produced animated video that tells Israel's story in Farsi.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK SCREENSHOT)
To mark the state’s 70th birthday, the Foreign Ministry produced a Disney-quality, 10-minute animated video that starts in ancient times with a shot of a child bringing the first fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem, and culminates with the wonder of modern Israel.
And the narrator is speaking Farsi.
“This is the story of the people of Israel in its land,” the narration begins. “King David made it his capital 3,000 years ago, and his son Solomon built the holy temple there.”
The story the proceeds through the ages: The destruction of the Temple, the exile to Rome, the Age of the Talmud, Maimonides, the Spanish Inquisition, clinging to the hope to return, pogroms, the Balfour Declaration, the Holocaust, the State Israel – its wars and successes.
Notably the video lists the surges of Jews coming back to Israel over the centuries, from the 1200s through the disciples of the Vilna Gaon in the early 19th century.
“The Jews have returned to their homeland, fulfilling the hopes of a hundred generations,” the deep-voiced narrator intones. “Israel has overcome daunting obstacles to create an open, joyful society, a vibrant culture and an innovative economy. The story that began in the Land of Israel and spread out to the farthest reaches of the world has come full circle – the next chapter is already being written.”
Not exactly the regular take in Farsi these days on the meaning of Israel.
According to Mordechai Rodgold, the director of the ministry’s information and visual media department, the animated short, which was made in nine languages – with others on the way – is an effort to “tell the connection of the people of Israel to the Land of Israel, to tell the story that we came from here, and that even if for a period we were absent, our soul was always here.”
The animated form, he explained, was chosen because it is a vehicle through which it is possible to tell 3,000 years of history in 10 minutes, and which appeals to a wide audience, including the youth.
It is important to tell this story, he said, at a time when there are many who want to delegitimize the state and say that the Jews are a foreign body in the Middle East who do not belong here.
There are few places in the universe where that narrative has gained more traction than in Iran, which is one of the reasons for the decision to put it out in Farsi.
The Foreign Ministry has a Farsi Facebook page, and many of its videos are subtitled in the language – but this is one of the few where the narration itself is in Farsi.
Rodgold said that in the first 24 hours – the short was released on Monday – some 40,000 people viewed it in Farsi, and it generated hundreds of comments, most of them positive.
One man, who said he watched the clip in Iran, wondered why the creators left out the role of Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who in antiquity allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to build the Second Temple; another asked why the role of God was left out of the clip; and a third wanted to know why the Iranian government hates Israel so much.