Synopsis: Over seven decades ago, the members of the People’s Council sat down to draft the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel. Every word and comma led to hours of debate. The declaration was signed, the State established, but the debate still rages. The grandchildren of the signers of the Declaration of Independence return to the hall in Tel Aviv where the document was signed. Who are the descendants of the people who established the state? What do they think of it today? Can they agree on one correct path for Israel? Natural Right raises once again the issues upon which the State of Israel has yet to decide, over seventy years after first attempting to do so.
I “carry on my back” the history of my family – Three generations of the Shlush Family, who were one of the few founding families of the first Hebrew city – Tel Aviv. I am the daughter of two “Sabras” who volunteered to leave high-school in 1948 to fight in the front lines of the Israeli independence war. To this day, my parents are deeply moved when they hear a recording of David Ben Gurion reading out the Israeli declaration of independence. For them, the war in 1948 was for life or death. And so, in my house, where I raised my daughters, a picture of this declaration was framed on the wall as a reminder.
Although the declaration is the constituent text of the state of Israel, and it seems there is a consensus around it, it is also very prone to interpretation. Members of parliament and government ministers from across the political spectrum often quote from it in their speeches, often with opposite interpretations to the same single sentence.
On the first day of shooting “Natural Right”, it was already clear that the polemics over the declaration and its interpolation still resonates today with the grandchildren of the men and women who wrote it 70 year ago, just as it still resonates between different groups and sects within the Jewish Israeli society. This polemics itself is what the film asks to bring to the front – for 70 year we have been acting out of habit or necessity, without taking a moment to answer the most fundamental questions about our existence in this land: Is a Jewish and democratic state a feasible concept? Is it possible to find a consensus within the Jewish society in Israel? And what about the non-Jewish citizens of Israel?
The grandchildren of the people who signed the Israeli declaration of independence do not hold public office like their grandparents. They are private individuals who are committed to their own values and principals, not to these of a political party. That said, their kinship to the people who drafted the constituent text of the state summons intriguing insights about who were the people who founded the state of Israel, what motivated them, what frightened them, and what they hoped would happen in the future. Because of this kinship, the grandchildren have a sort of “natural right” to voice their opinion. Whether they say “there is no Palestinian people”, or “I would like to see an Arab prime minister of Israel” – their voices resonate, especially when expressed in the very same hall in which their grandparents declared the state.