Key threat to survival: Escapism

Kaftori looks at future without Israel in '2048.'

2048 scene 311 (photo credit: courtesy )
2048 scene 311
(photo credit: courtesy )
As Jews around the world on Tuesday mourn the fall of the Temple and the failure of previous efforts at Jewish sovereignty, Tel Aviv’s Cinematheque will be screening documentary filmmaker Yaron Kaftori’s new movie, 2048, which portrays a future without a Jewish state.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post about the 50-minute film, which premiered earlier this month at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Kaftori compares contemporary Israeli society with the state of affairs leading up to the Six- Day War, when the nation’s very existence was put to the test. While his parents’ fear reflected a common feeling at the time, the 47-year-old Kaftori said he always felt confident about Israel’s wellbeing.
“That was never an issue for me,” he said. “This country was always strong, it was always secure.”
But as the nation celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2008, Kaftori, the father of two, took pause.
“I feel like many other people, that we are headed in the wrong direction and we are threatening the demolition of our state. And it will not come from an external threat,” said the accomplished filmmaker – his documentary on Poles and Lithuanians during World War II, titled Out of the Forest received international praise.
“We are a very divided state. There are so many groups of people – I don’t even know what to call them – who want different things. No one cares about each other,” lamented the Haifa resident.
So that same year, Kaftori set out to convey his self-described fraught view of the present and even grimmer vision of the future by taking a sinister lens into a future fictional downfall of Israeli society depicted in 2048.
The 50-minute mock documentary is set in the year 2048, when the state of Israel has ceased to exist. When a young man finds a tape that his grandfather made as a documentary filmmaker back in 2008, he is awakened to a time of crisis.Without identifying the fatal factor, he sets off to interview five “refugees” from Israel, each of who offer five very different tales of what happened and why the country fell.
One eyewitness, a rabbi, is writing a new chapter in the Bible, and explains that Theodore Herzl was following through on a mission from God. Another refugee, a librarian, blames the education system. A third person refers, vaguely, to a violent end – without distinguishing between a civil war and a foreign invasion.
“None of them are exactly my own ideas,” Kaftori said, while acknowledging that each of the accounts represent extremes that he believes fall in the realm of possibility.
“Everyone has his own history, and history has a tendency to be written by different sources,” he said. “More than anything, the film is an attempt to look at how our time, the Zionist periods of this country, will be preserved in the eyes of history in the time to come.”
Throughout the film, Kaftori makes no effort to propose a solution. Invest heavily in education, is his idealistic proposal. But he explained that 2048 is not intended to send a political message.
By neither putting forth a solution nor elaborating on what brought down the country, Kaftori said his film leaves no room for a political debate. The film doesn’t endorse calls to put military pressure Iran, nor does it support the calls for a stronger educational system.
“I think we are all part of a problem. I don’t want to give anyone an excuse to think he is not part of the problem,” said Kaftori. The greater threat, he added, is in fact what is missing from the public discourse. “No one wants to know where Israel is going,” Kaftori said. “We are surrounded by escapism.”
Noting that the views expressed in the film may be extreme for an Israeli audience that hesitates to question itself, Kaftori said he has unsuccessfully campaigned to have the film aired on national television. However, at the film’s premiere in Jerusalem, he was shocked by the warm reception it received.
“I got the same reaction from the Left wing and the Right wing, the religious and the non-religious. Everyone could identify with one part of it,” he said.
“It’s something very powerful, I believe, which catches the fears and the hopes that are in every one of us.”