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With help from David Zucker, comic "Mossad" movie humanizes Israel's intelligence agency in the spirit of "The Naked Gun"

Israel Film Festival impressario, Meir Fenigstein announced his plans for the 2019 Israel Film Festival in Hollywood before the summer.

Little did he know of the popularity that would be achieved by Israel's controversial comedy "Mossad" during the summer. 
Aaron-Man character in a scene from Israeli comedy "Mossad"
In it, a Mossad agent and a CIA agent battle each other over who'll save the world from a terrorist organization. Watch trailer:

Filmmaker, Alon Gur Arye's popular Israeli movie comedy has a double-edge - while a madcap production for Israeli audiences, what effect will international showings of  his "Mossad" movie have on public perceptions of Israel and the deterrent effect of the Mossad's secret-service image?

"The Naked Gun" and "Airplane" franchise creator, David Zucker story-consulted with Mr. Arye pre-production in Israel. JooTube asked him about his role, his perceptions, and his view of this Mossad/CIA spoof's effect on Israel's image & security. Director, Alon Gur Arye, joins in the conversation.

Filmmaker, David Zucker (creator of "The Naked Gun" comedy movie series) appears with Alon Gur Arye, about the spoof-movie, "Mossad" following it's premiere at Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles on November 16th. Panel interviewer: Israeli-American journalist David ("Dudi") Caspi.

Steven Geiger brought a cake for David Zucker & Alon Gur Arye

To learn about availability of the move on digital distribution, as well as full English dubs, spin-offs, and possible sequels, follow the Mossad movie at its website http://mosad.co.il (intentional misspelling).

Israeli comedy, "Forgiveness," shows there CAN be honor, even redemption, among thieves

From: "Cut ‘Forgiveness’ some slack" by Hannah Brown in the Jerusalem Post October 15, 2019

"Forgiveness," the latest movie by Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon, the creators of "Maktub," one of the most commercially successful movies in Israeli history, is a light-hearted, silly caper/comedy with dramatic and sentimental undertones.

Stars of Israeli "Forgiveness" "Mechilah" Guy Amir, Hanan Savyon, producer Adar Shafran at Israel Film Fest

In short, it’s the kind of movie critics tend to hate and audiences tend to love. As the late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael once said, a lot of movie reviewers act as if they wish they could see The Seventh Seal (a heavy film about death and redemption by Ingmar Bergman) every day. Forgiveness doesn’t aspire to be anything more than a very Israeli story of two shlubby guys who ruin each other’s lives, drive each other crazy and forgive each other – and get into a lot of trouble along the way.

Strung together like a series of comedy set pieces, it’s the latest local movie – like the summer’s big hit, Mossad – to go for popular success and lure audiences away from Hollywood films, network television and Netflix, and it mostly hits the mark. 

Addressing the audience directly, Israeli cast of "Forgiveness" Guy Amir, Hanan Savyon, Alon Aboutboul, with producer Alon Shafran & Festival director Meir Fenigstein

Aimed at the Israelis most filmmakers forget, it’s set in a town right on the Gaza border, and missiles and red alerts are woven into the plot. It opens as Shaul (Guy Amir) and Nissan (Hanan Savyon) two lifelong friends, have decided to rob a postal bank. They think they’ve got a great a plan, but just from looking at them, you can tell it’s not going to work out. Shaul is going to enter the bank via the sewer and crack the safe. All Nissan has to do is be the lookout. What could possibly go wrong? Since Nissan is wearing open-toed slippers – the first of many only-in-Israel touches – he bangs his foot and screams, alerting those sleeping in a nearby apartment. He flees and goes abroad, leaving Shaul to crawl up into police custody. 

Writer/actors Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon with producer Alon Shafran at Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles

Three years later, Shaul gets out of prison and no one is there to greet him but Nissan. Only it’s not the Nissan he once knew. His old friend has become religious and now has a long beard and a black hat and coat, in addition to a van covered with ultra-Orthodox inspirational stickers. Shaul doesn’t want to see him – all he wants is his share of the money, which Nissan has hidden. As they argue, a siren sounds, the first of many scenes interrupted by missile fire. Shaul heads home, to his wife (Noa Koler of Our Boys and The Wedding Plan), who is still angry at him for the robbery and his daughter, who is embarrassed by him. His wife is working double shifts as a manicurist, trying to make money to send their daughter to London to study ballet.
Mechila / Forgiveness poster

The money Nissan hid has disappeared, of course, and the two soon team up again to steal from a Bedouin sheik and from the local gangster (Alon Aboutboul), who stores his ill-gotten cash in his stable and whose wife complains that the cash he hands her for shopping sprees smells like horse manure. Tsahi Halevi (Mossad) plays the gangster’s right-hand man. Shaul and Nissan don various disguises – Nissan dresses like a Bedouin at one point – and get into increasingly improbable predicaments. But the plot really doesn’t matter: It’s obvious from the first second that Shaul will get the money, that his wife will forgive him, Nissan will end up with the lovely singing widow (Shiri Maimon, in her acting debut) and that Shaul will forgive Nissan for leaving him behind.
Alon Aboutboul, on his role as mafia drug kingpin in Mechilah ("Forgiveness")


The most entertaining part of this film is watching the two comic actors spar, and how much you enjoy the film will depend on how much they charm you. The duo, who created and starred in the hit television series Asfur, and who co-directed this film, have great rapport and always seem to be having a good time, no matter how dire their predicament. And they throw in a few unexpected touches, like an Arabic version of the classic song, “La Bamba.”

The movie is set during the Days of Awe. Highbrows who can’t forgive audiences for flocking to a movie like this should remember that the profits from Forgiveness will finance dozens of art movies.

Do Jewish & Israeli media professionals have a responsibility to not incite anti-Israelism through media?

Should Israel offer Oscars and international festivals movies  which blame Jewish Zionists for the failure of peace from Gaza and Judea/Samaria Muslims?
Israel Film Fest in L.A. debuted with "Incitement" movie guilting Israel's zionist-right for scuttling peace by sacrificing
Judea and Samaria for Palestinian state through Yigal Amir (Yehuda Nahari Halevi) assassinating of Yitzhak Rabin
The image of Israel and Israelis internationally has been beleaguered by enemies' media and political campaigns for years. Inherently liberal News Directors and Editors at global and regional news agencies, influenced by Muslim immigration advocates, have adopted an pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel editorial position - and expect that bias from field reporters - even those in Israel. Decades of anti-Israel press reportage have contributed to negative attitudes towards Israel, Israelis, and the public image of Jews in general.

The latest Anti-Defamation League survey reveals heightened levels of anti-Semitic attitudes in Europe and the Middle East. In Germany and Austria, nearly one in three respondents agree that the behavior of Jews is what causes antisemitism. 60% of European Muslim people surveyed did not agree that Israel has the right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people.

A University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll, fielded by Nielson Scarborough, conducted in September and October 2018 reported that a large number of surveyed Americans support imposing sanctions (or more serious measures) if Israeli settlements in the West Bank continue to expand: 40 percent of Americans support such measures, including a majority of Democrats (56 percent) among a nationally representative sample of 2,352 Americans. Foreign Policy Magazine , in December 2018.

During the past decade, for an international film festival to accept an Israeli-produced film, it would have to be a liberal, critical of Israel (rather than zionistic or Jewish State advocating) production. This is similarly the case even by program selectors at Jewish Film Festivals internationally and even film festivals portraying themselves as Israeli film festivals (such as in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, or Philadelphia). 

With Jewish people assaulted and killed in the streets of their own countries and bigotry towards Israelis and Israeli interests (physical and political) persisting, do Jews - and Israelis in particular - bear a responsibility in defending Jews and the Jewish State against lies and defamation? Do primarily liberal TV and filmmakers who commonly produce programs for domestic, Israeli citizens' eyes (which emphasize criticism, conflict, controversy, and turmoil) - have a patriotic responsibility to no "air our dirty laundry" to under-informed, often anti-Israel predisposed audiences outside of Israel?

Interview with Hillel Newman, Israeli Consul General to Southwest US:

Question: We're here at the Israel Film Festival do the filmmakers who come here do they or the the programmers who program the films that are shown here - do they have a responsibility to show, to depict Israel in a favorable light?

Hillel Newman, Israeli Consul Gen to Southwest US

Answer: Israel is a country what we call a strong democracy. . .  There are red lines. Red lines are like movies or people who support BDS - divestment or boycott of Israel - or people who refuse to recognize the existence of the State of Israel. Those are the red lines that we wish not to cross and the movie that will support BDS or do something which crosses a red line will support terrorism or anti-semitism, we will not be there.

Question: But the film that's being shown tonight, Incitement it's incriminating to the right - they're blaming the Zionist-right in this picture and while it may be popular for commercial purposes, do the programmers have a responsibility to show things which are less incriminating on either side or blaming for tragedies such as the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin?

Answer: Well, first of all my being here is not an endorsement of one movie or another. I'm just being here for the the festival itself and they're gonna display many movies during the festival. I'm in support of the festival, in general. 

Regarding this the Incitement movie (this is not the inciting movie) it's an era there are different opinions about it. I read up the reviews. I'm not a movie critique or reviewer. I'm aware of the different opinions about the movie. I understand where the moving is coming from. That it's just trying to portray an angle of of where the assassin of Rabin comes from. One doesn't have to accept the movie, one doesn't have to agree with the movie. It's controversial - one can disagree with the movie - that's legitimate."

Sharon Harel Cohen received Achievement in Film Award
from Meir Fenigstein's Israel Film Festival in L.A.
The Israel Film Festival in Beverly Hills, presented its Achievement in Film to Sharon Harel-Cohen, who produced IDF entertainers' story, "Ha Lehaka ("The Troupe) in 1977 (which featured drummer Meir Fenigstein in an acting/performing role. He founded and has been directing the Israel Film Festival for 33 years). 

Mrs. Cohen discusses the conundrum of why, in the face of growing anti-Israel attitudes, a dearth exists in "explanation" (hasbara) films and TV educating about Israel's history and struggle against detractors and enemies. 

Q:  Since that time since the early mid '60s, Exodus and Cast a Giant Shadow, there haven't been many films made depicting Israel story. What do you think about that?

A:  I think it's time to make make more movies like that.

Q:  Do you feel that Israeli filmmakers have a responsibility to help tell Israel's story amid the sheker (lies) and defamation?

A:  It's interesting - Israeli filmmakers don't really focus on that do they? I think they dont. Israeli filmmakers focus on their society. And stories within that. And issues they deal in. They deal with Israeli issues rather than how the world would perceive Israel. I think you're right, though.

Q:  Israel is not aware of the problems internationally?

A:  Yes but they don't have the same. . . so if you're in the States andyou're in New York or Los Angeles and you're thinking about Israel it's very different than if you actually ...

Q:  Or if you're in London.

A:  Or in London, definitely.

Q:  So everyone accuses at Hollywood, there's so many Jews working in Hollywood, but it doesn't seem to have worked on behalf of the Zionist history or Israel's cause. How about in England is there a chance that that even theaters would show movies that show Israel in a favorable light?

A:  In the UK, BDS is very very strong. And I think you will find that a lot of Palestinian money and efforts are going into that. Actually our movie, Incitement, was in the London Film Festival and the people in the London Festival were worried that there would be riots outside. There wasn't any.

Q:  Are you a producer or the producer?

A:  I'm producer of the film Incitement, yeah. The film is about the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

Q:  At the time was he the Prime Minister?

A:  He was a prime minister and it was during the Oslo period. And he was very close to a peace treaty with the Palestinians. It was during the second stage of Oslo. But he was assassinated.

Q:  Are films - even films which are which are critical of Israel will they get shown? Will they get picked up - if not by cinemas then by cable channels or satellite channels?

A:  In the UK?

Q:  In the UK  - anywhere in Europe?

A:  I think Israeli films are picked up, but not in many numbers. In the UK. In Europe I think that France shows many Israeli films. I think it depends. The UK doesn't."

Video of Sharon Harel Cohen's award acceptance speech below at the Israel Film Festival courtesy filmfestivals.com

World War II USAF gunner inspires fight against fascism - revived in Islamism and The Left - Leon Waldman, 95

USAF B-17 gunner, Staff Sgt. Leon Waldman, shares his experience from 50-bombing runs, amidst Nazi German enemy fire. Mr. Waldman recounts his experience shooting off enemy attacks from the ground and the air over Europe. He speaks of how the US winning the nuclear bomb race saved him from risking his life over the South Pacific. 
WWII USAF gunner, Leon Waldman, 95, conveys his views on Veterans Day

Mr. Waldman offers advice about the price of freedom from fascism (particularly that which scapegoats Jews to attain tyranny) which he sees now spreading from Europe to North America.

Mr. Waldman: "You know the L.A., the New York Times covered up the Holocaust. They wouldn't print stories about it and some people say it was at the behest of Franklin Roosevelt. Because he didn't want it out too much.  Because he wasn't doing anything about it  - couldn't do anything about it.

JooTube: Or didn't want to.  Did you feel a special job - a motivation - to defeat Hitler?
Add caption

Waldman: Yeah, of course being a Jew. Although we didn't know the whole extent of it. We knew he was the son of a bitch (excuse the expression - that's a gentle word, ha, ha).

JooTube: What would Hitler have done if America had not defeated him (American and Russia)?

Waldman: If he had won, we . .  I would be dead, that is for sure.

JooTube: Because you're an American USAF flier?

Waldman: A Jew. You know he would have killed all the Jews in America, just like he killed them in Germany. That was his credo.

JooTube:  What was his aim for America, in general?

Waldman: Well, he would never have defeated America but if he did, we'd have been the same as in Germany!

Jerusalem Mufti al-Husseini helped start and perpetuate the
annihilation of Jews with Nazis, expanded into Muslim sphere
Continues . . .JooTube: What's the connection between the Arab-Israeli conflict of today and Hitler's Nazi regime?

Waldman: It's the same thing. It's only worse probably. Because the Muslims are a billion and a half and they're mainly anti-Semitic.  They're a billion and a half people. They've got sixty countries. In the UN there's never a vote in favor of Israel. You got 60 Muslim countries and all the other countries follow them. They follow the oil. The Jews don't have anything, the Arabs got oil. So Europe and most of the United States favors the Muslims. 
But the the Muslim ideology - is it purely about where the borders of the Israel and the Palestinian conflict resolve, do you feel?
Waldman: No it's not borders - as they want us in the ocean!
JooTube: The Jews?
Waldman: They want to drive the Jews into the ocean. That's their stated game. They tell you that. The day Obama signed the Iran (nuclear) peace treaty, the so-called peace treaty - there were thousands of people on the streets singing "Death to America," and "Death to Israel," and "Death to Jews!" And that's their main thrust. They want us all dead! JooTube: You're saying they weren't protesting - that they were celebrating a victory against America and Israel? 
Waldman: Yeah, just unbelievable!
JooTube: So, here on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, what message would you like to convey to the Jewish people, to the young generations? Obviously you're of great grandfather age. What would you tell to your great-grandchildren about the direction of politics in the United States and the defense of Israel?
Waldman: Well I tell them - just look back in history and see who's starting all the wars, and who's starting all the terror and so forth, it's obvious. 
JooTube: Who is it?
Waldman: It's Muslims, if you look around the world, 95% of terrorism is Muslims. JooTube: Is that something that a Palestinian state would solve?
Waldman: No, it'd make it worse. A Palestinian state - it's just a threshold to drive the Jews out of that tiny country into the sea! When they talk about driving into the sea, they're talking about nine miles (width). 

You know, if they get a real independent country, and Israel allowed them have to have armed forces, one night they would rise-up and march into Israel in one hour and drive everybody - they'll kill everybody in their beds. You know, it's impossible. You can't have a country right on your border that wants to kill you and wipe you out.

Israel Film Fest returns to L.A. Nov 12 - 26th - salutes to mega-director Roger Corman; Israeli TV's Avi Nir

THE 33rd ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL in Los Angeles, the largest showcase of Israeli cinema and television in North America, will present from November 12th – 26th over three dozen award-winning Israeli films, documentaries, short films and television series as well as in-person appearances from 25 of Israel’s most acclaimed filmmakers and talent. This encompasses two World Premieres, fifteen U.S. Premieres, six West Coast Premieres and five Los Angeles Premieres.

Avi Nir of Keshet with I.F.F.'s Meir Fenigstein
The Festival launched the celebration for its upcoming 33rd edition by hosting a sponsor luncheon and honoring: Legendary filmmaker Roger Corman with the 2019 Israel Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award CEO of Keshet Media Group and Executive Producer (Homeland, The A Word, Tyrant) Avi Nir with the 2019 Israel Film Festival Visionary Award Academy Award winning Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv (Skin) with the 2019 Israel Film Festival Achievement in Film Award.

Meir Fenigstein, founder and executive director of the Festival, presided over the event held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills in June. 

Original Poogy-drummer, Meir Fenigstein, discusses plans for Israel Film Festival in L.A. Nov 12-26th

Los Angeles Israel Film Festival's lineup for Nov 12-26th straight from the mouth of exec. director, Meir Fenigstein, original drummer of '70's rock band, Kaveret.

What is Israel Film Festival honoree, movie-making legend, Roger Corman, most proud of in his career?

Accompanied by Joe ("Gremlins") Dante, one of his protegé directors, what is prolific honoree, Roger Corman (New World Pictures), most proud of in his career?

Israeli media-ites' artistic vs patriotic responsibilities - Mike Burstyn at Israel Film Fest '19

In these times of widespread political besmirchment of Israel's image, do Israeli media professionals have a patriotic responsibility to produce and distribute only positive media internationally? In the face of anti-Israel social fashions, if they do, how much of a chance do they have of getting their programs / movies distributed?

33rd ​IFF Festival Chairman and William Morris-partner, Rick Rosen, introduces honoree Avi Nir, CEO of Israel's Keshet Media Group

Avi Nir served as an Executive Producer on Showtime's Emmy® and Golden Globe® winning drama "Homeland," for which he was personally awarded an Emmy® when the show was named Outstanding Drama Series in 2012. "Prisoners of War," Keshet's original Israeli show upon which "Homeland" is based, has sold to more than 20 territories internationally.

At I.F.F., "Gremlins" filmmaker, Joe Dante, (a Gentile) notes Jews' contributions to world cinema

"Gremlins" director, Joe Dante, introduced his mentor, filmmaker Roger Corman, (a baptized Catholic) for a lifetime achievement award from the Israel Film Festival.

The Opening Night Gala presentation will take place on November 12th at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. VIP Opening Night Gala Tickets $125, Regular Tickets $50. Festival screenings will screen at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills and the Laemmle Town Center 5 Theatre in Encino. For further information or to purchase tickets for all Festival events and Opening Night Gala, contact the IsraFest Foundation: 310.247.1800 or email info@israelfilmfestival.org.

Tickets are available to purchase on the website  www.IsraelFilmFestival.com.

Festival 6-pack: $75 (available only at the theatres’ box office as of November 1st) good for 6 Regular Screenings (must be exchanged for tickets at box office). General Admission: $15; Seniors, Students and Children: $13; Matinee Shows (5:00 PM screenings): Monday through Thursday - $10.