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Books, Films and TV Shows about Israel

Pauline

Forums Admin
#1
We just returned from our first trip to Israel and now I want to learn more about this country before we return for another trip next year.

In preparation for the trip I read:
  • 2 guidebooks - Eyewitness and Lonely Planet.
  • 3 novels - The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan, A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amozs Oz (both recommended in my planning thread - I did not finish the Amos Oz, but will get back to it) and Exodus by Leon Uris (still reading this and enjoying it).
  • 1 history book - Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Daniel Gordis (did not finish but will get back to it).
I have these books on my list to read (I have samples on my Kindle):
  • Friendly Fire by AB Yehoshua
  • The Hilltop by Assaf Gavron
  • The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (historic novel set in Masada)
I got the HillTop from this article - 7 Must-Read Books By Israeli Authors - and Friendly Fire was in the apartment we rented in Haifa.

Recommendations for other books to read, fiction or non-fiction?

Before the trip we watched some of season 1 of Srugim (Israeli TV series set in Jerusalem), finished season 1 while in Jerusalem, and finished season 2 while still in Israel. We are watching season 3 now. This show is really good and very informative about religious Jewish life in Israel.

Years ago we watched Prisoners of War (Israel version) and In Treatment (Israel version). Recently we watched Fauda, and a second season will be available soon.

Recommendations for other TV shows or films?

I will subscribe to Ha'aretz, the newspaper for Israel which is available in English in digital.

I learned a lot about traveling in Israel in the Trip Advisor forums and will continue to read them. There is also a Palestinian Territories forum which I will read. Next year we will go there for a day trip.
 

joe

100+ Posts
#2
A subscription to Ha'aretz is a very good idea. Clearly leftist in its views, nonetheless gives a well-balanced picture of the country, also giving space to regular contributors from the opposite side of the political map. Too bad that not all articles from the Hebrew version are translated.
For tourists : look for articles in this newspaper by Moshe Gilad (check also past issues in the archives), he's the tourism reporter and covers some of the less-known aspects of tourism in the country. In addition, columns by Ronit Vered can provide some good information on small producers and businesses in the realm of gastronomy.
I might add that the film "The Gatekeepers" should go on the list if you want an interesting perspective (one of many) on the present conflict.
 
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Pauline

Forums Admin
#3
I finished the novel Exodus by Leon Uris (1958) and it was a long read, and in parts boring. It was very dated in many ways. Plus the main story about the boat Exodus leaving from Cypress is made up! There was a boat called Exodus and it played a big part in the history of Israel, but the story is very different. I read a few articles pointing out how one sided Exodus is - and it really is - but how influential it was in its time. After finishing I decided it was worthwhile reading it just because of its influence.

Huffington Post - THE BLOG 04/24/2013 Re-reading Leon Uris’ Exodus by Alan Elsner

This article in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz lists current authors.

Ha'aretz - Don't Blame BDS: Why the World Isn't Holding Its Breath for the Next Big Israeli Author
The list of translated Israelis is enormous, and the occupation doesn’t even sour the mood with some readers. Still, the U.S., British and Scandinavian markets remain tough nuts to crack

I am currently reading “The Hilltop” by Assaf Gavron, which depicts the surreal reality in the West Bank. It is very good.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
#4
A friend recommended an Israeli movie which we watched last night. It was very good, and similar to Srugim, but from an Arab-Israeli perspective. We rented it on Amazon Video.

In Between, 2017
Three Palestinian women living in an apartment in Tel Aviv try to find a balance between traditional and modern culture.
Starring: Mouna Hawa, Sana Jammalieh, Shaden Kanboura
Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Writer: Maysaloun Hamoud
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5974388/?ref_=nm_knf_i1

The main actress, Mouna Hawa, was in 3 episodes of Fauda, another Israeli show.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
#5

Pauline

Forums Admin
#6
I finished the novel “Waking Lions” by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen and really liked it. It is set in modern times. A doctor and his family live in Beersheva. An incident involves him with the Eritrean immigrant community (illegal immigrants) and the local Bedouins. His wife is a police detective. It is more of a story of his life and marriage than a murder mystery, although there is a murder. It gives a good perspective on life in that part of Israel.
 

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