New film promotes positive view of Israel

by | May 4, 2012 | Uncategorized

On Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, community members were treated to a special Israel Independence Day treat, complete with popcorn and candy.

The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater showed a free screening of the documentary, Israel Inside, How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference on April 26.

The presentation at the Sandler Family Campus was part of a specially coordinated premiere for the film, which on Yom Ha’atzmaut was shown at 100 other select locations, on six continents and in 27 countries.

Rabbi Israel Zoberman of Congregation Beth Chaverim welcomed the 132 people in attendance.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together and celebrate a day of great joy, and for being able to see something positive together—it makes all the difference,” Zoberman said.

The 38-minute film tells the story of Israel today from the perspective of Dr. Tal Ben Shahar, who moved back to his native country after studying and teaching at Harvard University. While teaching at Harvard, Shahar was consistently Harvard’s most popular lecturer and was a frequent guest and commentator on television news programs.

Throughout the film, Shahar discusses the elements he sees as making Israel a great place to live, and Israelis such a remarkable people. He calls the distinct Israeli characteristics “actualizers,” and breaks them up six ways: family, turning adversity into advantage, chutzpah, education, taking action and tikkun olam.

Combining Shahar’s personal examples and narration with interviews of businesspeople and politicians such as Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barket, Shai Agassi of Better Place Electric Car Company and Tamar Jehuda-Cohen, founders of Smart Biotech Ltd., Israel Inside focuses on the positive aspects of Israelis and its contributions to not just the Jewish people, but to the world at large. The film was produced by

Following the film screening, audience members shared their insights and experiences with Israel. Among those commenting were Rabbi David Barnett, Karen Lombart and former Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf.

A number of people in the audience were not Jewish, but are strong supporters of Israel. Jessica Marzucco is president of Christians United for Israel at Regent University. She was energized by what she saw and learned in the documentary.

“You hear things in this film that you never hear in the news,” says Marzucco. “I want to bring this film back to my school to show this to students who do not get the benefit of hearing the truth, so they can see all of the great things Israel does, and the beauty of the country.”

The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater will show the film Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference again next year as a part of the Jerusalem Online U series, Step Up for Israel. To request more information on the film or series or to be notified of the next screening, contact Robin Mancoll, Community Relations Council director, at

by Laine M. Rutherford