Conversation Inspired by the Film “The Attack”

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

“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.”