Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Their Eyes Were Dry ...

It's Friday Film time.  A Fascinating Film & an Announcement of Special Screenings in the USA on May 9th  as the anniversary of this attrocity approaches!

I'm making Aliyah & I'm planning to visit the Cemetery where my Parents (of blessed memory) lie.   I like visiting the cemetery,  & as a Jew I take  Zachor,  the duty of remembrance, seriously.   Those who are remembered do not die!     There is something though that I love about Jewish Graves, or to be more precise, Jewish headstones.  All of  the tombstones in a Jewish cemetery face East, thus, all headrests are aligned, row after row, towards Jerusalem.  It makes me feel aligned to Eretz Yisrael & part of Am Yisrael!

 And this brings me to today's movie review which  has its birth too in  a Jewish Cemetry, in Tsfat,  Israel,  which is the final resting place of a group of school children murdered 37 years ago in an event known as the Maalot Massacre.   Shot on location in Israel, “Their Eyes Were Dry” is directed by Brandon Assanti and brings to light  the Ma'alot Massacre, an historic event that took place on May 15th, 1974.   The documentary offers a moving historical experience as the film details in depth the heart-wrenching story of this Murderous Rampage  by Arabs in Ma'alot,   when 105 students were held hostage by 'palestinian' terrorists dressed as Israeli soldiers who infiltrated the Lebanese border and stormed into an Israeli elementary school in Ma’alot and it Commemorates the lives and Courage of these downed young people.

Film-maker Brandon Assanti, now 27,  grew up hearing stories of the young victims of the Ma’alot Massacre.   At 19 years old,  Brandon met with Ma’alot Mayor Shlomo Bohbot.  During their discussions of this incident,  Brandon decided to take the responsibility upon himself to give those silenced slaughtered children a voice.  Brandon spent time filming all across Israel in order to gather the necessary footage for his documentary.

I wasn't in the world in May 1974 when a group of 105 high school children from a school in Tsfat, along with ten adults were on a field trip.  Today's parents were children then,  and the Yom Kippur War had just come to an end.  Israel was always deluged by Arab terror, then as now.   Due to heightened security alerts, these kids wound up sleeping at the local school building in the nearby city of Maalot, rather than outside in nature.  A day earlier, a palestinian terrorist unit had penetrated from Lebanon.  Their paths would meet in Maalot, a city about six miles from the border.

The three terrorists who crossed the border from Lebanon to Israel entered an apartment building in Maalot, murdering an Israeli couple and one of their children, a four-year-old boy, wounding another.  A third child, deaf and mute, was silent, hidden in a closet, and thus went undiscovered.  The terrorists then wounded a sanitation worker they encountered outside. When they finally arrived at the local school, it was early morning Tuesday, May 15th, 1974. The adults were asleep, but the children still excitedly awake.

As the three terrorists overcame the school, the teachers along with some of the children managed to flee. Eighty-five children remained hostages in the hands of the terrorists. In an act that would later become the trademark of Hizbullah and Hamas, the children were stationed as live shields with the terrorists hiding behind them. True cowardice is the essence of the difference between us and them,  now and then.  And Always!

An unassuming, quiet and humble eleventh grade student,  Jacob Kabala,  exhibited extraordinary inner strength when he took the lead, taking care of his fellow students. He acted as a liaison between the terrorists and the hostages, and between the terrorists and the army.  At the most crucial moment, he attempted to overcome one of the terrorists and was murdered.  By his actions, he saved many of his fellow students.  The terrorists demanded the release of 20 of their "brothers" in Israel. They warned that if their "brothers" were not flown to Damascus, Syria, by 18:00 that day, then they would blow up the school and all of those inside.  Typical Terror Tactics!!!   Israel's leadership was torn ~ one does not negotiate with terrorists, but what does one do when children are involved?

Golda Meir was prime minister and the government of Israel, under her leadership, unwilling to capitulate to terrorist demands, authorized military action.  The operation commenced 45 minutes before the 6 o'clock ultimatum.  Twenty-two children were murdered and 68 wounded.  The events that unfolded have left, to this day, a traumatic mark on Israel's collective memory.  These lessons would prompt the subsequent creation of both police and military elite units to handle similar occurrences, and the formation of the civil guard authority.  

How does one deal with the taking of school children as hostages? It would be three decades later that Russia would have to deal with a similar situation ~ reminding us all that terrorism methodology works, and is very effective, not only against Jews. Exploding oneself in a hotel or pizza place works equally well in Jerusalem, Israel, as in a wedding in Amman, Jordan.  Kidnapping children and using them as bartering chips works as well in Israel against Jews as against Russians in the Russian Federation. Burying 186 children from the Beslan school massacre is as traumatic to a nation as burying 18 girls and four boys from the Maalot school massacre.   It was Chechan Jihadists who committed this carnage as it was
Arab Jihadists of the  Democratic Front for the Liberation of palestine and Palestine Liberation Organization  carried out the Ma'alot Murders.

Anyways,  Assanti manages to take us on a journey in a train of clips, interviews and reenactments, propelled by an engine driven by music. In his movie Their Eyes Were Dry, Assanti, a tourist from a different culture, time and place, manages to captivate his audience and leave them with numerous questions. And He has left me enraptured and teary eyed as I ponder the power of his storytelling talents.  

You too can watch this fine film if you live in the USA ....   as this most compelling and powerful documentary will be part of a special in-theatre event that celebrates the lives and courage of heroic children as their innocence is held hostage by terrorists.  An Evening of Reflection and Song featuring ‘Their Eyes Were Dry’ on Monday, May 9th  at 7:00 p.m. (local time) will also feature a mini-concert by “The Cantor’s Assembly” commemorating Israel’s Independence Day and the 37th anniversary of the Ma’alot Massacre.   Director Brandon Assanti will be available for interviews.   His website is here .... http://www.TheirEyesWereDry.com/.

Presented by NCM Fathom and The Machine Management, in association with the Consulate General of Israel, StandWithUs, and Jewish Life Television, An Evening of Reflection and Song featuring ‘Their Eyes Were Dry’ Fathom Event will be broadcast to 250 movie theatres nationwide in America through NCM’s exclusive Digital Broadcast Network. Tickets are available at participating box offices and online at http://www.fathomevents.com/originals/event/theireyesweredry.aspx, which also includes theatre locations and prices .

The sad thing is that this massacre does not shock anymore. It's normal Arab behavior.  On this May 15th Anniversary,  we are informed that a Third Terror 'Intifada' is about to begin.   And we are told by American Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, that Hamas will be included in the imposition of 'palestinian statehood' on Eretz Yisrael  come September.  I cannot not help but wonder about the fact that the American government is complicit in the training and arming of terrorists.   That the US is engaged in training future Jew killers with your tax dollars.  And with Israel's approval? Why?   PM Netanyahu talks about a demilitarized state of palestine, and people cheer in admiration.  What a clever Prime Minister. Bravo.   In the meantime, PA terrorists are receiving high-calibre rifles and top quality training by the US as it prepares to grant them "Statehood".   Israel, under US 'guidance' dismantled the large majority of checkpoints throughout Judea and Samaria.  And then we saw another murderous massacre ~ that of the Fogel Family.   May I be very Jewish for a minute and say "May Israel no longer know such sorrows. May Israel find wisdom to fight and withstand the terror inflicted by those determined to destroy the Jewish State"

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