For 24 film students from the Munich School of Film and Television and Jerusalem's Sam Spiegel School of Film and Television, Monday began with a warning: they could not visit the Mea She'arim neighborhood because of tensions regarding the Gay Pride Parade set for the city's downtown later in the week.
Undiscouraged, they set off to tour the city.
The task at hand was a daunting one: the students have to pair up - one Israeli and one German - and write a script about two people from these countries meeting in Jerusalem, all in five days. On Monday, the students, their teachers and their tour guides, traveled to different neighborhoods, including Yemin Moshe and Ein Karem, looking for inspiring writing spots. On Friday, each team will present their project, which will be translated into both German and Hebrew.
Though none of the German students is Jewish, and only one has previously been to Israel, they are all very excited to be in Jerusalem working with their local peers. One student from the Munich School was intrigued by the fascination the Israeli students have with German youth. On the tour, the pairs had the chance to interview each other, and draw on stories from their past to work into their scripts.
The students from Germany, led by their teacher, Doris Dorrie, embarked on this journey to shatter preconceived notions they may have had about Israel.
Dorrie said the weeklong trip was about "having to face your own ignorance."
When the students were asked about their previous feelings toward Israel, they were short of words. None of them were frightened to come here, though one did get detained at Ben-Gurion Airport, and none of them seemed to be surprised about what they saw. One student did say he expected to see more religious people, but one of his Israeli peers explained that they lived elsewhere in the city.
Dorrie told The Jerusalem Post they chose to see Israel first-hand because no one really knew what was really going on inside the country. Dorrie said that her decision was "largely based on the enormous ignorance the majority of the world has about Israel."
"Everyone in the world has an opinion on Israel, but based on what?" she asked.