Voices of the West Bank & Israel

Video by Mark Golden -
Mark is an an American Jew in his early 60’s who travelled to Israel in April, 2013 with his wife. he was interested to hear firsthand accounts from both Israelis and Palestinians about their lives in this politically charged country. Traveling to Israel and the West Bank, he made a record of many conversations.

    




Mark’s goal is to educate and inform, giving a voice to Palestinians so viewers can empathize with these otherwise disenfranchised people. He hopes this video stimulates discussion and motivates action for a peaceful and just resolution to this ongoing conflict.

Mark is now embarking on a speaking and screening program in the USA.

 As an an American Jew in his early 60’s, who had attended a conservative synagogue as a child, became a Bar Mitzvah, and raised two children with a Jewish identity, Mark never had direct contact with any Palestinians, but certainly had heard a lot about them. Like many American Jews he assumed that they were equipped with bombs on their chests and wreaking havoc in Israeli cities. However he always thought there might be more to their story.

 As settlement expansion in the West Bank increased in the 1990’s, and the violence continued to escalate, Mark became increasingly disheartened by the Israeli political response to a disenfranchised people, with poor political leadership and only desperate options. What are these people like? What is their experience? Mark would ask Jewish friends of his that had visited Israel, but very few had ever ventured into East Jerusalem or the West Bank or had made any effort to talk to Palestinians directly. Settlement expansion seemed wrong. The Intifada was raging.

 He had, up until this point, no particular desire to visit Israel……. Then he had the idea to also visit the West Bank and to gain firsthand accounts from both sides of the conflict. He became more and more determined to meet the Palestinians in person. He also decided to share what he learned with others who had never spoken with a Palestinian.

Mark decided to video tape his conversations with both Jews and Palestinians as a way to record the experience. In April, 2013, with the help of Green Olive Tours, he arranged to spend some time in East Jerusalem as well as in a small village in the West Bank named Beit Ummar. The 25 minute video, Voices of the West Bank and Israel, is an attempt to gather together the various voices he heard while making this journey.

 The video represents a “travelogue” of his two week experience in Israel and the West Bank.

 Mark has said: “I was surprised and moved by what I learned, and have tried to present it in a balanced manner. I hope 'Voices of the West Bank and Israel' will stimulate badly needed discussion around this issue. I hope it brings empathy and understanding to both sides which, one day, will result in a just resolution of the conflict.”

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