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Books, Films and TV Shows about Israel

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
I just saw Episode One of the third Season of Shtisel. It’s starting in Israel now and likely in the US, Netflix, this spring. I saw it as a special Shtisel evening via the Streicker Center of Temple Emanuel (NYC), and it was preceded by a discussion with the actors Michael Aloni, Doval’e Glickman, Neta Riskin and Shira Hass and Writer/Creator Ori Elon.
Beautiful episode, fun discussion.
 
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milgreen2

10+ Posts
Does anyone use the Hello Israel TV Izzy streaming app? There's a special subscription rate promotion through 12/31: $49.99 per year or $2.99 for 1st month, then $5.99/month. Trying to decide if it would be worth it/worthwhile.
 

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
I don't know about Hello Israel, but if your Hebrew is up to it, you can stream lots of current Israeli shows free of charge on the website Sdarot.tv. I'm not totally sure my oral comprehension is good enough, but I've started to watch the next episode of Shtisel. There are subtitles in Hebrew, if that helps anyone.
 

Jim Zurer

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
There was a free month offer for Izzy that we took...but really didn't take advantage of it. There is so much content out there that it was hard to make time for their offerings. There seemed to be some interesting cultural programming (Diana watched a program about the Yiddish poet Sutskever) but we aren't going to continue with it.
 

milgreen2

10+ Posts
Thanks for the feedback! SO much good content, so little time............
I am also contemplating a subscription to MhZ , which has a lot of good international shows. But all of these reasonable subscriptions do add up!

My Hebrew comprehension is decent, but there's so much idiomatic dialogue I think I would miss. And not sure my reading fluency could keep up. My reading skills with no vowels have definitely improved as I have worked on my Torah reading, though (biggest disappointment of this whole year was not being able to read in person for our congregation)
 

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
I can read without vowels, my comprehension has improved a good deal from reading the FB posts of Israeli friends. Interesting what you say about Torah reading: I can read Torah from the scroll without vowels but seems to be a whole different skill from reading very modern Hebrew. Of course now, although my synagogue does have a mixture of services every Shabbat, very very limited indoor and outdoor, everything is on ZOOM and those of us who wish to can read from a tikkun (or other voweled/unvoweled text) at home. But I know what you mean.

Try Sdarot, I'm planning to keep on doing it as a learning experience.

Edited to add: I've tried MHz Choice, and right now I have a week's free trial going. But my experience has been that the shows on that channel are, maybe, just a little bit tired. Nothing I would miss watching. I've mostly tried Italian detective series.
 
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milgreen2

10+ Posts
I can read without vowels, my comprehension has improved a good deal from reading the FB posts of Israeli friends. Interesting what you say about Torah reading: I can read Torah from the scroll without vowels but seems to be a whole different skill from reading very modern Hebrew. Of course now, although my synagogue does have a mixture of services every Shabbat, very very limited indoor and outdoor, everything is on ZOOM and those of us who wish to can read from a tikkun (or other voweled/unvoweled text) at home. But I know what you mean.

Try Sdarot, I'm planning to keep on doing it as a learning experience.

Edited to add: I've tried MHz Choice, and right now I have a week's free trial going. But my experience has been that the shows on that channel are, maybe, just a little bit tired. Nothing I would miss watching. I've mostly tried Italian detective series.
YES! Montalbano :~). And of course, Spiral, for which Netflix is far behind.
 

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
Has anyone mentioned "Valley of Tears" here? If so, don't see it. This is the English title of the recent Israeli TV series "Sha'at Ne'ila", referring to the closing service of the Yom Kippur fast day; the English title refers to the battle site in the Golan, during the 1973 Yom Kippur war. In the US you can watch it on HBO Max; I actually got a subscription for a month to watch it.
During my 2015 trip to Israel, I spent three days in the northern Galil and the Golan Heights with an incredible guide (Richard Woolf) and he took me to the site of the horrific tank battles (the Valley of Tears, Emek haBace). The armaments are still there.
On HBO Max you can watch the series either with Hebrew dialogue (and get English subtitles) or dubbed into English.

(And did I mention I have a ticket on miles to return to Israel this coming October?? Completely refundable, but one can hope..)

I'm inserting a link to the NY Times review; the Ha'aretz review is more informative but is behind a paywall.

 

milgreen2

10+ Posts
Sounds like a series I would really love.....maybe I will spring for a 1-month subscription as well. Interesting translation, though, of a phrase which is so hard to put into English. One of my favorite songs/poems in the Yom Kippur liturgy is about Sha'at Ne'ilah.

We did three days of touring in the North with Richard Woolf a few years ago. Highly enjoyable and informative. Reminds me I should send him a "checking in" email!
 

Jim Zurer

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Has anyone mentioned "Valley of Tears" here? If so, don't see it. This is the English title of the recent Israeli TV series "Sha'at Ne'ila", referring to the closing service of the Yom Kippur fast day; the English title refers to the battle site in the Golan, during the 1973 Yom Kippur war. In the US you can watch it on HBO Max; I actually got a subscription for a month to watch it.
During my 2015 trip to Israel, I spent three days in the northern Galil and the Golan Heights with an incredible guide (Richard Woolf) and he took me to the site of the horrific tank battles (the Valley of Tears, Emek haBace). The armaments are still there.
On HBO Max you can watch the series either with Hebrew dialogue (and get English subtitles) or dubbed into English.

(And did I mention I have a ticket on miles to return to Israel this coming October?? Completely refundable, but one can hope..)

I'm inserting a link to the NY Times review; the Ha'aretz review is more informative but is behind a paywall.

We actually started watching it and got through three episodes before bogging down due to the high percentage of battle scenes. We were discussing the possibility of starting again but so far, we haven't. I am interested in your take....
 

Jim Zurer

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
We started watching Shababniks on ChaiFlicks...apparently a runaway hit in Israel about four Haredi rabbinical students, three of whom are not as devout as you might expect. The English title is The New Black (for their hats I guess). We have finished two episodes and I am not hooked.

You can get a 7 day free trial on Chai Flicks if you want to dip your toe into this and other Israeli content.

 

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
Sounds like a series I would really love.....maybe I will spring for a 1-month subscription as well. Interesting translation, though, of a phrase which is so hard to put into English. One of my favorite songs/poems in the Yom Kippur liturgy is about Sha'at Ne'ilah.

We did three days of touring in the North with Richard Woolf a few years ago. Highly enjoyable and informative. Reminds me I should send him a "checking in" email!
Ah, isn’t Richard wonderful! How did you find him.... I’d read great things about him on the Trip Advisor Israel Forum.
As to Sha’at Ne’ilah, indeed.
And yes, Richard and I occasionally exchange emails especially if there’s some news about a site we visited.
We actually started watching it and got through three episodes before bogging down due to the high percentage of battle scenes. We were discussing the possibility of starting again but so far, we haven't. I am interested in your take....
Yes, Jim, the battle scenes are overwhelming. I’ve watched three episodes and may watch a fourth in what’s left of the afternoon.
 

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
We started watching Shababniks on ChaiFlicks...apparently a runaway hit in Israel about four Haredi rabbinical students, three of whom are not as devout as you might expect. The English title is The New Black (for their hats I guess). We have finished two episodes and I am not hooked.

You can get a 7 day free trial on Chai Flicks if you want to dip your toe into this and other Israeli content.

Chai Flicks!!!! Too much. ;-)
 

joe

500+ Posts
The "Valley of Tears" battle was called like this in Hebrew, using a Hebrew phrase taken from Psalms 84:6 :
"When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings."
"Sha'at Neila" is indeed a problematic phrase if you're looking for a catchy English title for a film. It's understandable that "Valley of Tears" was chosen instead of a literal translation. A literal translation would be "hour of locking".

Something that might have been appropriate in the sense that it is both close in its meaning and also suitable as a name to attract audiences, would be phrases along the line of "The Last Prayer" "Penitence" "The Last Hour", etc.

"Atonement", which might possibly have been apt, has already been used for a (beautiful) film ;) (based on Ian McEwan's book, of course). In addition to the superb acting and plot, it has an incredible long shot of a Dunkirk war scene. Worth your five minutes if you are a cinema lover.
 
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ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
I've now watched six of the ten episodes and am enthralled. I rewatched the first ones, as I'd watched them late at night, falling asleep at parts. It's so much better when you actually pay attention to the plot and the protagonists. Lots going on, metaphors for Israeli society inclulded. And the characters are individually drawn so you (I) get hooked.

Below are some of the photos I took at the "Valley of Tears" site. I believe the photo at the right is a chunk of a Syrian tank, with the names of the IDF soldiers who were killed, with ranks.
(I can't seem to get rid of the identifying numbers at the bottom of the photos; didn't realize they'd be exported with the photos. Tomorrow is another day...)

01be00c08c42b713f50c89e6d4627c972cc5be5627.jpg
013367927c40aa7cd595a9161a8e57cf7891b5a412.jpg
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SyrianTank.jpg
 
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Jim Zurer

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
We started watching again last night....it turned out that we had only watched two episodes. We were much more engaged in the third episode (characters became more identifiable and the battle scenes were gripping) and will continue in the coming days.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
I can’t find Valley of Tears in the UK but I read that HBO Max might be launching here this year.

I think we can get Chai Flicks through our Apple TV box and will try that today so we can watch The New Black.

We’ve missed our Israel travel and who knows when we can return. It does look like it might be possible by October @ItalophileNJ !
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
We watched The Spy on Netflix (This drama tells the astonishing true story of Israel's most prominent spy, Eli Cohen, who infiltrated the Syrian government in the 1960s.) and there was a scene where the main character is on the Syrian side of the Golan looking down on Israeli soldiers.

I am not a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen’s other movies, but this one was excellent.
 

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
Yes, I was initially not able to believe the story with Sacha Baron Cohen in the title role as Eli Cohen. But went back and was eventually caught up in this.
Incidentally.... I had visited the site of a poignant memorial to Eli Cohen directly after visiting the "Valley of Tears" on one of the days I spent in the Golan with Richard Woolf. It had just been erected a few months before.

The first photo is a close up of Eli's wife Nadia and children, looking up toward Syrian, looking for Eli,that is, for the return of his body. The inscription says "Waiting for Eli"

The second photo is the incribed story of what happened to Eli, with a quote from the prophet Jeremiah at the bottom.

1612369577271.png


1612369500533.png
 
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ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
I can’t find Valley of Tears in the UK but I read that HBO Max might be launching here this year.

I think we can get Chai Flicks through our Apple TV box and will try that today so we can watch The New Black.

We’ve missed our Israel travel and who knows when we can return. It does look like it might be possible by October @ItalophileNJ !

Maybe I'll see you there! It seems there are many regular travelers to Israel who are now focussing on this coming October for a return trip. I'm still planning to do so, with my cancellable United tickets, looking forward to hanging out in Jerusalem.
 

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