Term Paper: Cinematic Image of the Sabra

Pages: 4 (1495 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Instead, there was an emphasis upon the newly powerful state, moving into a future, free of the former threats the Jewish population had endured due to its vulnerable status in Europe. The establishment of Israel was seen as the triumph of good over evil. Gradually, this began to change in the 1970s, after Israel's sobering near-defeat during the Yom Kippur War and the wearing spiritual legacy of the Palestinian occupation (Avisar 131). A more critical analysis of the impact of the Holocaust upon the Jewish state began to take place.

The need to deal with the legacy of the Holocaust is seen in a powerful, yet life-affirming manner is manifested in the film Hill 24 Doesn't Answer, in which surviving Nazi soldiers are shown as threatening the Jewish state. The Nazis are the embodiment of evil, and when an Israeli soldier is shown killing one of them, he is clearly striking a blow for the new state of Israel as well as the populations decimated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Although World War II cannot be re-fought and the atrocities of the past cannot be erased, the establishment of the state of Israel at least has created a new Jewish people who possess military might and can deal with their enemies effectively. The presence of the Nazi indicates that there will always be people who desire to do away with the Jewish people. But now that there is a state of Israel, Jews all over the world no longer need to live in fear. Jews are proud and capable and secure in their homeland.

In Walking on Water, a new cinematic view is introduced: one which does not turn its eyes away from the profound influence of the Holocaust, but one which is not obsessed with the need to show strength at all costs. In the film, the earlier, more black-and-white view of the purpose of Israel is embodied by the boss of the Mossad agent Eyal: the older Meacham is obsessed with the Holocaust, and is determined that the agent Eyal will kill an aging Nazi. Meacham reminds Eyal that the Nazi likely killed Eyal's own relatives, decades ago. However, Eyal befriends the grandson and granddaughter of the man he is supposed to kill, and realizes that they do not espouse their grandfather's values.

Walking on Water suggests that it is ultimately, Germany who must dispose of its collective guilt for the Holocaust, not Israel. This action is symbolized when the grandson Axel eventually decides to kill his grandfather, who can only survive hooked up to medical life support. The action is both a mercy killing and a revenge killing, and is then contrasted with the friendship and forgiveness that exists between Axel and Eyal, and the new life symbolized by Eyal's marriage to Axel's sister. Eyal is also shown not to be invulnerable to prejudice, as he is initially uncomfortable around Axel, because of Axel's homosexuality. Eyal, the symbol of the new Israel, is thus not perfect, just as the new Germany is far from 'all bad.'

As well as its more nuanced moral complexities, Walking on Water is also noteworthy for the tenderness and vulnerability it allows Eyal to show. Eyal's inability to show affection closes himself off from his first wife. He believes this directly caused her to take her own life. By the end of the film, Eyal is able to befriend Axel and show tenderness. This balance between the terrifyingly strong masculinity Eyal is able to show when defending Axel from homophobes with his emotional openness is seen as the ideal. Eyal and Axel do not forget the Holocaust, but their sense of collective memory and how the past affects the present still requires them to stop fighting the old conflicts of the past. Israel must move on, and not stay obsessed with blaming others, particularly others who had nothing to do with the crimes of the previous generation like Axel.

Works Cited

Avisar, Ilan. "The national and the popular in Israeli cinema." 2005. 24.1 (2005): 125.

Charlie Ve'hetzi. Directed by Boaz Davidson. 1974

Hill 24 Doesn't Answer. Directed by T. Dickenson. 1955.

Smith, Anthony. "The formation of national identity." Identity. Oxford, 1995.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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