Film screening commemorates Israel Independence Day

by | Apr 18, 2014 | What’s Happening

Tuesday, May 6, 7 pm

For those who can’t be in Israel on Tuesday, May 6 to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, there is an opportunity to commemorate the occasion locally.

The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, in partnership with the Simon Family JCC’s Celebrate Israel series, will present a free film that night at the Sandler Family Campus. The entire community is invited to attend.

The CRC’s screening of The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, will give audiences a look at some of the most pivotal events in Israel’s history in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The documentary combines archival film footage and photographs with contemporary narration and interviews. Based on Ambassador Yehuda Avner’s bestselling memoir of the same name, audiences are treated to Avner’s recollections of the years he spent as a chief aide, note-taker and speechwriter to Israeli Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin and Shimon Peres.

“People here loved Ambassador Avner’s book, and we thought showing this film would be a great way to celebrate Israel Independence Day on the actual day,” says Robin Mancoll, director of the CRC.

“Coming together, as a community on May 6, is a way we can show our support and solidarity with Israelis.”

The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers is the first part of Avner’s story. It focuses on Avner’s years working with Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir, and then U.S. Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin. Attendees will learn new details about the Six-Day War, the development of Israel’s close strategic relationship with the United States, the fight against terrorism, and the Yom Kippur War and its aftermath.

Listen closely to some of the voices in the film. Additional narration uses the talents of popular Hollywood actors: Sandra Bullock as Golda Meir, Michael Douglas as Yitzhak Rabin, Leonard Nimoy as Levi Eshkol and Christoph Waltz as Menachem Begin.

The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers is written, produced and directed by Academy Award winner Richard Trank, and co-written and produced by two-time Academy Award winner, Rabbi Marvin Hier. Grammy and Emmy winner Lee Holdridge composed and conducted the films’ original score.

A second documentary, scheduled for release later this year, will be titled The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers. In it, Avner relates his experiences with Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin and Shimon Peres, as well as his role as Israel’s Ambassador to England.

For more information about the film and to RSVP by May 2, visit, or call 757-965-6107.

by Laine Mednick Rutherford