Synopsis: Israel’s 6th Prime minister Menachem Begin led Israel for six dramatic and tumultuous years, which produced waves that are still felt deeply within the fabric of Israel’s social and political landscape. During Begin’s shortened one and a half terms of office, he faced a maelstrom of challenges and made a handful of fateful decisions that led to both creating peace and launching a hubristic war.
By exploring these events, the film depicts a multi-faceted portrait of a man who held on to an unwavering ideology full of conflicts, as well as the cultural mosaic and fissured society that he sought to lead. The film merges rare archival footage shown for the first time, as well as current interviews held with key figures during Menachem Begin’s time as Prime Minister.
AVAILABLE FOR 48 HRS STARTING SEPTEMBER 5th AT 6:00 PM
Marian and Abraham Sofaer
Zahava and Yoram Cedar
Fran and Bobby Lent
Stay tuned for a fascinating interview of Levi Zini the director of the documentary conducted by Abe Sofaer
The interview recording will be available for viewing in the “Post Film Discussions” section, located under the “2020 FEATURED FILMS” section, on the Home page.
On the day Menachem Begin entered the Prime Minister’s Office, he was asked; What style of PM are you going to be? “Jewish style, good style,” he replied. What is a Jewish style? How is that separate from ‘Israeli style’ and is there any difference? These questions were the starting point of my journey to unravel Menachem Begin’s contradictory character and leadership.
In my youth, my father and I used to wrangle over politics on Shabat. My father would support Begin with loyalty while I argued against his policies and his ‘Ghetto mentality’, which seemed so far from my ‘Israeli’ mindset.
My immigrant father, Yedidia Zini, fled from his home in Morocco to join the fight for the creation of Israel. What led him wasn’t “Zionism,” which is a Western national ideology, but rather a deeply rooted Jewish sentiment – “a yearning for Zion”. A sentiment that was deeply absorbed into his identity, like many Jews of Islamic countries. Soon after arriving in Israel, he experienced a deep sense of cultural alienation from Israel’s socialist founders and their Labour Party. He found his voice under their bitter opponent, Menachem Begin, and made him his idol.
My journey to tell Begin’s story stems from those old arguments with my long-gone father and my attempt to try and reconcile between us. It has brought me a new understanding and acceptance of the sentiments that my father so strongly protected, even if our differences about Israel’s future shall remain unresolved.
Levi Zini is a pioneer documentary filmmaker in Israel with over 40 years of experience creating independent films and television documentaries in a variety of genres, including art films, docu-activism, and current affair exposés. Between 2009-2013, Zini served as Chief Commissioner of Israel’s premiere documentary channel – Channel 8. He is a recipient of a variety of awards from local and international festivals, including Israel’s Ministry of Education Award for Documentary Filmmaking in 1999 and 2012. From 2015 to 2018, Zini was a board member of the Israeli Documentary Forum.