HomeLand Insecurity: Update 1

A letter from film director, Yahav ZoharYahav's second film Jerusalem Revealed, part of the Homeland Insecurity series, is now in pre production. Please support his work by participating in our Kickstarter Campaign at this link >

Dear friends,

Thank you for taking an interest in our new project, Homeland Insecurity. The first film in the series, Jaffa and Tel Aviv Revealed, is available to view at this link

I'm very excited to tell you about the new video we're working on. But first, in response to some of your questions, a little bit about how this all came about.

When I first had the idea to make these videos, it didn't seem to make sense. Most of my friends and colleagues were not for it: aren't I busy enough doing tours (I was)? Wouldn't I just be putting my tours on the web for free? Isn’t this undercutting myself and Green Olive Tours? What’s the business model, so to speak?

Well, I know nothing about business and I've been very lucky to have Green Olive Tours to handle that side of things and support me in doing what I love. With tours, I get to meet new people every day and respond to their interests and questions, to rethink and reform my position and story, to develop it.

These films are the next step. I'm now taking the stories I’ve told and retold and put them on the record, make them available to people around the world who are not able to come here, and not least, force myself to reinvent my tours. You see, if people coming on my tours will have already seen and heard those things I’ve said so many times, I couldn’t repeat them again. I would have to come up with new things to say.

I contacted my old friend Moran Barir who is a video professional working on social causes. She was busy as usual but enthusiastic about the idea. We agreed to shoot the first video where she lives, in Jaffa. I would basically say something like the briefing at the beginning of the Jaffa Tel Aviv tour I'd given so many times. Afterwards, Moran and I would find the appropriate pictures and maps and she would edit them in.

I thought I could do it in 3 or 5 minutes. I tried. It came out longer, I tried again, it became longer still. What I thought would be easy turned out to be a great challenge - sifting through the many things I wanted to say to figure out what is really necessary, to structure it into a narrative with a clear beginning and end instead of a 3 hour tour where I can go off on tangents, come back to things, leave some things hanging.

Writing and rewriting that text kept me busy for the better part of a month. It caused me to look up things, to chase rare volumes across the country and read entire books of history and memoirs, to rethink again and again what was the core point of what I wanted to communicate. It was not at all easy, and extremely rewarding. It reminded me how much I care and am moved by these stories and this country, and that I’m not about to quit guiding soon. And then came Covid-19.

Now, there are no tours. These videos, which were my side hobby, became my main work, and a way to keep the message and narrative of Green Olive Tours alive while tourism is shut down. To help fund more films, since there is no income from tours, we're setting up a kickstarter campaign to raise money for the second film. As rewards for funders we are offering online briefings, the closest we can come to offering tours right now, as well as a new illustrated historical text on the ridiculous borders of our country which I am working on right now and I hope will entertain you.

The next challenge I’ve set myself is even more difficult than the history of Tel Aviv and Jaffa in 10 minutes. Though it focuses on a much smaller area, it is one where the complexities are immense and every word can land me in trouble (some will). I aim to take viewers to the very center of our conflict, physically and symbolically, to the place alternately known as the Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount, the foundation stone, the center of the world, the connection point of earth and heaven, the beautiful strangely calm eye in the center of our storm.

In 10 minutes or so I’ll try to tell you how this place became so holy and so disputed, and what it means to the people and the politics of this country today.

I know now that getting it all in order, figuring out what and how much to say will not be easy. I will get stuck, back up, start again, become excited and then disappointed and then excited again. I look forward to all of that and am glad to have you along for the journey.

If you like the first film,  please go to FaceBook now and 'SHARE' the post at this link.

Also, can you circulate the web address of the film page, directly via email to your friends? That would also be a big help. Here's the link to the Film Page.

Help me get a 'buzz' going, and the success of the second film will be assured. Become part of our team. Thanks so much.

In Peace,

- Yahav Zohar is based in Jerusalem, is a Partner of the Green Olive Collective, and Senior Tour Guide at Green Olive Tours. Read his profile here > >
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