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Israel Documentary Reviews: Critics On 'Birth of Israel - Birth of a Nation'

Image: Israel Documentary Reviews: Critics On 'Birth of Israel - Birth of a Nation'
David Ben-Gurion, who was to become the first Israeli prime minister, reads the Declaration of Independence at a museum in Tel Aviv during the ceremony founding the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. Ben-Gurion stands under a portrait of Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, while surrounded by members of the National Jewish Council. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Sunday, 19 Oct 2014 01:21 PM

The 2005 documentary "Israel: Birth of a Nation" documents Israel's stressful, early years as a nation. Produced by The History Channel, the film uses archival footage, much of it taken by British military officer Bernard Beecham, and includes several interviews with participants.

"This is the definitive document of one of the turning points in modern history," reads the product description on Amazon.com. "(It) shows the reality of life in the fledgling nation, when all efforts were devoted toward winning the war. ... This is a remarkable chronicle of a nation won by courage and determination more than weaponry, the saga of a people finally returned to the land from which they had sprung."

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Hosted by noted author Sir Martin Gilbert, "Birth of a Nation" dedicates time on the country's trying first years. One day after declaring sovereignty, on May 14, 1948, armies from Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, Egypt, and Iraq invaded the new nation of about 600,000 people. Against the odds, Israel prevailed.

"The film includes interviews with retired Jewish defenders and survivors of massacres at Kfar Etzion, Mount Scopus (Hadassah Hospital medical convoy, Apr. 13, 1948), Sha'ar HaGai and Yad Mordechai," wrote reviewer Alyssa Lappen on Amazon. "There's also wonderful 1949 footage of post-war Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and so on shot by [Beecham], who visited specifically to document life in Israel's first days as a sovereign state."

Lappen adds: "On the down side, the only Arab archival footage was reportedly staged anti-Israel military propaganda. This seems imbalanced."

Reviewer Gary Selikow also gave the film high praise.

"A riveting and highly informative documentary for anyone interested in Israel's War of Independence, with penetrating commentary from the greatest historian of Jewish history today, Sir Martin Gilbert," Selikow wrote.

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The 2005 documentary "Israel: Birth of a Nation" documents Israel's stressful, early years as a nation. Produced by The History Channel, the film uses archival footage, much of it taken by British military officer Bernard Beecham, and includes several interviews with participants.
israel, documentary, birth of israel
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2014-21-19
Sunday, 19 Oct 2014 01:21 PM
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