Thank you to Ben-Zion Friedman for sharing this summary and issues raised in the discussion at Congregation Rodeph Shalom’s 65 + Connection Group’s recent viewing of the film “The Attack.” Spoiler Alert…
“The Attack ” tells the fictional story of the heartbreak of an Israeli-Arab doctor, Amin. The movie is told entirely from the point-of-view of Amin. He begins as a successful secular surgeon with a loving wife. The attack refers to a suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv restaurant. Amin is the main trauma surgeon, and becomes totally devastated to learn that his secular Christian wife was the terrorist suicide bomber. After three days of harsh interrogation, he is set free, and he travels to Nablus in the West Bank to seek answers from his wife’s family. His wife is hailed as a martyr, but he is treated as an outcast . . .possibly an Israeli spy. He encounters a radical Muslim cleric and a fundamentalist Christian priest, both of whom preach hate and violence. Ultimately, he fails to understand his wife’s motivations, and feels that he has become an outcast to both Palestinians and Israelis. This is one sad somber story of deception and despair. Our community’s conversation explored these issues:
On Betrayal of Trust
Some Say: Betrayal of Trust is the greatest of all sins. Lying and deceit attack and annihilate any relationship. Relationships are based on mutual trust .
Others opine : Lying is acceptable if the end justifies the means. Sins worse than Betrayal-of -Trust include traditional Jewish Commandments against murder, incest, and idol worship .
On understanding another person
Some say: This husband could have understood his wife’s thoughts and feelings if the COMMUNICATION between them had been totally honest and empathetic .
Others opine : A person’s feelings are so PERSONAL and POWERFUL that no one else can ever truly understand .
On the pain of being the Outcast . . the Outsider . . the OTHER
Some say : Yes, this feeling of being the OTHER is a frequent human tragedy. The outcast suffers loneliness and despair . . . especially by rejection (banned from the “IN “- group to the “OUT”-group)” .
Others opine : Being The OTHER may lead to strength and creativity .
On Radicalization of Ideology
Everyone agreed that an all-or-nothing , pure black-or- white ideology was too simplistic and unrealistic .
Sometimes the TRUTH consists of many sub-truths : nuanced Shades-of- Gray. (Maybe that’s why we Jews have 72 Names for God) .
Is Ethnicity everything?
Some say: Yes … in the Middle East , where Tribalism rules .
Others opine: Our ethnicity is a fact of our birth .. it is beyond our control. We have Free Will to make moral choices in our lives .
On Forced Interogation
Some say : a necessary evil to save innocent lives and/or ensure national security .
Others opine : No ; semi-torture is forbidden by common morality and international law .
On hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians
Some say : No Hope ; too many extremists on both sides . Compromise is impossible .
Others opine : There is always Hope . Theodor Herzl declared: “if you will it , it is no dream.”