Raphael Shore, founder of JersalemOnlineU.com and film producer, tells Newsmax.TV that people around the world need to see “the real Israel . . . a dynamic, humanitarian, democratic society that’s making a big difference in the world today.” To that end, Shore produced “Israel Inside,” an hour-long film designed to counter the prevalent, news-driven image of the Jewish State.
According to Shore, “Today, when you ask the average person on the street, ‘tell me about your impressions of Israel,’ they will describe . . . an embattled war zone, a terrorist-ridden state dominated by fanatic religious groups both on the Jewish as well as on the Islamic side, and the picture will be one of gray and battle and fences.
“What we wanted to show people is that that’s not the Israel that you experience. Get on a plane and come here and you’ll see something completely different.”
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The film’s host, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, was born in Israel but moved to the United States and “was famous for being the most popular teacher at Harvard . . . ” Shore asks what made Ben-Shahar move back to Israel after “being on top of the world as the most popular teacher at Harvard, on ‘60 Minutes’ and all those most popular shows.”
The answer, says Shore, is Jewish and Israeli values, two of which are chutzpah and tikkun olam. “Chutzpah is a uniquely Jewish idea that is if you tell me no, I’m not listening. I’m still going. It’s thinking out of the box. It’s thinking of new ways of doing things. I’ve got a challenge, I have a desert here, what am I going to do with a desert? I’m going to figure out a new way to make the desert blossom.
“Tikkun olam is the idea that the Jewish mission, the Israeli mission is not just to be another nation in the world, but to be a nation that is actually illuminating the world through delivering values and beautiful hi-tech and humanitarian assistance to the rest of the world, not just taking but being a giving country.”
A striking example of tikkun olam in the film is the Israeli organization Save a Child’s Heart, a group “completely dedicated to the idea that every child deserves the best medical treatment available, regardless of the child’s nationality, religion, race, gender, or financial situation,” according to their website. Children from war- and nature-ravaged countries such as Iraq, Haiti, Sri Lanka, and the Palestinian Authority, are brought to Israel’s Wolfson Medical Center where they receive lifesaving cardiac surgery.
Despite the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “at least one-third [of the children] are Palestinians,” says Shore. “this is an example of little known information about Israel but it happens every day. You walk into any hospital in Israel and you will see co-existence . . . both in terms of the staff, medical doctors being Arab as well as Israeli, Palestinians and Israelis, and you will see the patients . . . of all different colors, stripes, sizes, religions.
“It’s really a very humanitarian, open, tolerant society. But you just don’t get that picture in the media. This film is really presenting this exciting new view which is a much more accurate picture of the [humanitarian] side of Israel.”
While tikkun olam is more easily explained, chutzpah is another concept altogether. Shore says, “On the one hand, chutzpah means in your face, brazen, almost boldness that can at times be rough and edgy and even rude. On the other side, when you use chutzpah . . . for the positive side, it means resilience, it means persistence, it means thinking out of the box and coming up with new ways to do things where people say no.
“Israeli chutzpah is absolutely necessary because we’re in a world today that is not so loving of Israel all the time. We appreciate America’s friendship but there’s a lot of countries that don’t have it. We need the chutzpah to know we’re a good people, we’re doing good things, we stand for good values, and we’re going to keep going even though a lot people would like to put us down.”
Asked if Israeli chutzpah can defend Israel and the world from a nuclear Iran, Shore explains, “There’s no question in my mind that Israel has the capability to take care of itself. The question is always will it be allowed to, and will it have the chutzpah, the brazenness to do so if the world is suggesting that is should not.”
Was the Stuxnet virus that ravaged Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2010 a product of Israeli chutzpah? Shore says, “Of course no one’s claimed responsibility for that very innovative technology that put back that Iranian nuclear armaments developments for quite some time . . . When faced with a genocidal threat . . . Israel has to come up with new ways as the world continues to say to them ‘wait, don’t react, don’t respond.’”
In response to the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) directed against not only Israel’s economy but also culture and academia, Shore says, “ . . . to boycott all of the products and ideas coming out of Israel, well you’re not going to have a cell phone, you’re probably not going to have a computer to use, probably when you’re dying and you’re in the hospital with some illnesses you’re not going to be able to be treated.
“So much of the fundamental innovations and technology that we use . . . have come from Israeli high-tech innovation. Israel has more start-ups per capita than any other country, it’s got more high-tech companies traded on NASDAQ than any other country in the world except for China and America, and it’s only got a population of six or seven million people . . . If you want to boycott it all, well be consistent and that means you’re not going to have a lot of the tools that you need to live today.”
The film “Israel Inside” can be found here.
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