Israeli film directors whose films are participating in the Jerusalem Film Festival, took a stand today. Efrat Corem, Shira Geffen, Ronit Elkabetz, Keren Yedaya, Tali Shalom Ezer, Nadav Lapid, Shlomi Elkabetz, and Bozi Gete, issued a unified statement to the press today, calling for an end to the violence, an acknowledgement of the suffering of the other, and a call for dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The mood was somber as they read the names of Palestinian children who have been killed in this conflict. A brief conversation with the attending journalists followed the reading, and the filmmakers expressed their wish to use the stage of the festival as a platform, viewing their role as artists to speak out and take an active part in Israeli political life.
This is their statement:
We, the undersigned, Israeli directors whose films participate in the Jerusalem Film Festival, believe that in these violent days, it is impossible to talk only about cinema while ignoring the killing and horrifying events around us.
We are scared too. Some of us are parents. Our children are terrified of the code red sirens and of the thundering sounds of warfare. We do not seek revenge and do not believe in a military solution; this has proven futile in the past.
Children in Gaza do not enjoy the protection of the Iron Dome systems. They have no residential secured spaces, and no sirens.
Children living in Gaza today are our partners in peace tomorrow. The killing and horror we inflict only push any diplomatic solution further away.
Cameras here, in Israel, film and tell about the suffering and pain of Israeli citizens subject to missile attacks. They do this on a daily basis. It is important for us to state that we deeply sympathize with Israelis living in Southern Israel, who have found themselves in the battlefront. They are innocent men, women and children that have lived through an unimaginable nightmare for years. They are entitled to full protection, but there is another way! A dialogue must be established, an acknowledgment of the suffering of the other. Today, we want to direct those cameras to the suffering of Gaza residents, men, women and children killed during the last few days. Those filming the suffering of Israelis should be courageous and honest enough to film the killing and destruction in Gaza as well, and tell that story as well. The pain of Israelis and Palestinians is intertwined, and the first cannot cease as long as the other continues.
The “life goes on” conception, by which surrounding events cannot and will not affect our everyday dealings, is morally impossible. In these terrible days, we as artists and creators expect from ourselves, the festival’s administration, the spectators and the media to use this event to issue a clear, loud cry for change.
We call the Israeli government to cease fire; we urge it not to send our troops to be killed again, in another pointless, cruel military campaign; we call it to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Palestinian people and its leaders, to achieve a viable peace for both sides.
Efrat Corem, Shira Geffen, Ronit Elkabetz, Keren Yedaya, Tali Shalom Ezer, Nadav Lapid. Shlomi Elkabetz, Bozi Gete.