A letter from the founder

The Other Israel Film Festival was founded to be a vehicle for cultural change and social insight into the nature of Israel as a democracy and into the complex condition of the lives of minorities living in the Jewish Sate. The largest minority group within Israel’s midst is its 1.7 million Arabs. In its 60 years of existence, Israel has fostered another group of people who have put down roots in Israel and have born their Hebrew-speaking children within its boundaries – Israel’s 300,000 foreign workers. It is not about the conflict – it is not about taking sides – this festival is about people.

Film can be a powerful tool, it can show new sides, change perceptions, and evoke emotions. Through the use of film, we are provided with a human dimension that extends beyond daily news bulletins. Film can explore the deeper meaning of everyday living. Through these films, the festival aims to present the lives, dreams and strengths of the Arab minority and to show their participation in Israeli life. Foreign workers present a unique condition in Israeli society and we aim to familiarize our audience with the faces of “foreign workers.”

I care deeply about Israel and its future. Growing up in a democratic Jewish state has without any doubt shaped the cultural and national identity of all of its inhabitants and citizens – who know no other home. These films and artistic expressions are paving the way to co-existence and to a new, more inclusive culture in the Middle East.

Carole Zabar