Hollywood and Israel love story – Australian Jewish News

Israel plays a larger-than-life role on the silver screen.From big-budget epics such as Paul Newman’s 1960 hit Exodus to Adam Sandler’s filthy don’t mess with zohan In 2008, a Hollywood movie about the Jewish state could provoke a series of competing reactions.

New book with panorama – Hollywood and Israel: A Historyby Professors Tony Shaw and Giora Goodman.

“There are several books that deal primarily with the representation of Israel in Hollywood films. Exodussaid Goodman in a joint Zoom interview between authors. Age of Israel“But none of them are about off-screen or on-screen, and the entire century-plus relationship.

“It’s not just about filmmaking, it’s about philanthropy, diplomacy, celebrity advocacy and all kinds of relationships that can be built between the country and Israel, a global entertainment capital.”

The book is full of cinematic moments depicting Israel.

They extend to the kiss on top of Mount Hermon between Newman and his American Presbyterian lover and nurse, Kitty Fremont (Eva Marie Saint). Exodusto the heart-stopping spectacle of zombies swarming Jerusalem world war zthe apocalyptic best-selling Brad Pitt adaptation by Max Brooks, son of Jewish director Mel.

Entertainer Barbra Streisand (bottom left) is on the phone with Golda Meir of Israel at 30:30 at The Stars Salute Israel in Los Angeles, May 7, 1978. 30th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
Photo: AP Photo/Wally Fong

There is also a lot of information backed up by archival research. Did you know that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested this title? pretty woman To Sabra producer Arnon Milchan when Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem? Crazy fan Frank Sinatra allegedly smuggled money into Haganah?

The book has an origin story close to Hollywood. A colleague based in Los Angeles connected geographically dispersed authors. Shaw is an English scholar at the University of Hertfordshire and Goodman is based in Galilee as Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies at Kinneret College.

Characters in the book include Jewish-American celebrities such as Barbra Streisand. Barbra Streisand conversed with former Prime Minister Golda Meir by satellite at her 30th birthday party in Israel in primetime star-studded in 1978 and sang Hatikvah.

And then there’s Steven Spielberg, who directed two of his Oscar-winning 1993 brooding films about Israel. schindler’s listends with controversial 2005, when Holocaust survivors head to Zion accompanied by golden Jerusalem Munichan investigation into the Mossad pursuit of the Black September terrorists behind the massacre of members of the Israeli Olympic team at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

In the book, Israelis like superstar Gal Gadot and director Gideon Raff reflect the growing pipeline of Sabra to Hollywood. Non-Jewish celebrities also appear, such as Sinatra, whose photo appears on the cover. There are even famous clerical leaders. Rabbi to the stars, Max Nussbaum, converted two of her celebrities, Elizabeth Taylor and Sammy Davis Jr., to Judaism.

Beginning in the 1920s and 30s, the story examines a small but growing number of Hollywood films that support Zionism and oppose Adolf Hitler.After Israel achieved independence, the following Christian-themed biblical epics Ben Hur Perhaps the most famous Bible movies were all Old Testament stories, but Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments – Taken in Egypt by Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Jewish studio heads, such as Louis B. Mayer, were at times lukewarm in their Zionism, but one of the early Israeli camps, according to a book that credits them to the 1953 film. One group was Hollywood progressives. jugglerKirk Douglas plays a Holocaust survivor in Israel, juggler It set the precedent for films set in Israel and actually shot there.

Charlton Heston played Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic The Ten Commandments.Photo: Paramount Pictures

“Hollywood’s early interest in Israel wasn’t just ethnic or religious because of the large number of Jews in the film industry,” Goodman said. “Hollywood liberals, often also Jewish, were drawn to what they saw as a new country with progressive ideals.”

The book devotes an entire chapter to Exodus.

“Many historians have written Exodus‘ said Shaw. “I still think of it as an important film.” Major stars like Newman were there. [character’s] dating a non-Jew [Kitty Fremont, played by] What it says about Eva Marie Saint and the overall support shown for Israel, not just the Jews.

As the author explains, the film had an eventful backstory. Many rewrites and he had three different screenwriters. Leon Uris was fired early on. The British government, as well as the leaders of the local Arab-Israeli community, have called for a more gentle treatment on their side. I made that wish clear throughout, regardless of how much I use it.

The authors also examine changes in the way Palestinians are portrayed in films. These range from nuanced portrayals as terrorists to more nuanced representations, including Palestinian filmmaker Hani Abu Assad’s 2005 film. Paradise Now The 2013 Oscar-nominated film Omar, about a potential suicide bomber, was accused of being an Israeli collaborator.

Shaw and Goodman also note Hollywood’s support for Palestinians.

Shaw and Goodman sought an objective approach whenever discussing Middle Eastern tensions permeating Hollywood.

“We worked really hard to ensure that the vocabulary we use was not interpreted as pro-Israel or anti-Israel,” Shaw said. “We are historians, after all. No angles to sharpen, no axes.”

This helped us explore the impact of factors such as boycotts, divestments, sanctions campaigns, social media and the 2014 Gaza War.

“We could be at a turning point here,” said Shaw. “As you can see, a change is underway. A lot of Hollywood types, people in Hollywood, have clearly become more critical.”

But just a few years later, in 2018, another Israeli birthday celebration took place in Hollywood. This time it was closed to the public, but many key players were present, from Billy Crystal to Noah Tishby.

“Many Israelis are coming to Hollywood to bring closer ties between the Israeli and American film industries,” Shaw said. “On the other hand, overt criticism of Israel has certainly increased compared to her ’70s. But in many ways, the Hollywood infrastructure is still very pro-Israel.”

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Hollywood and Israel love story – Australian Jewish News

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