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To Die In Jerusalem
To Die In Jerusalem
Actor: Rachel Levy & Ayat al-Akhras
Director: Hilla Medalia
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
NR     2007     1hr 16min

To Die In Jerusalem recounts the heart-wrenching story of two teenage girls - 17-year-old Israeli student Rachel Levy and her killer, 18-year old Palestinian suicide bomber Ayat al-Akhras -- who died together at a Jerusale...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Rachel Levy & Ayat al-Akhras
Director: Hilla Medalia
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Politics
Studio: Priddy Brothers & HBO Documentaries
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 12/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 16min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Arabic, English, Hebrew

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Movie Reviews

Two Mothers
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 02/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""To Die in Jerusalem"

Two Mothers

Amos Lassen

Four years ago, 17 year old Rachel Levy was killed in Jerusalem by a Palestinian suicide bomber. Her mother, Avigail, has still not found peace. Ayat al-Akhras, also 17, a schoolgirl from a Palestinian refugee camp four miles from Jerusalem was Rachel's murderer and like Rachel, she was also 17. This is an emotionally charged documentary that explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the loss of the families of Rachel and Ayat and we are privy to a meeting between the two mothers and get a contemporary reflection of the conflict as see through the eyes of two mothers who each lost a daughter.
The documentary cements the fact that we may never see an end to the conflict. We look into the eyes of two women who have lost something very precious but we also look into the eyes of hate and despair. The film is meant to spread awareness and bring about dialogue by having the audience to feel the situation from a very personal perspective of both sides of the problem. There seems to be a leaning toward the Palestinian side in the film even though the filmmaker is an Israeli. We see the family experiences of the suicide bomber. The controversy is that the film shows how both sides are victims of the occupation of Palestine and how little the two sides see eye to eye because of the lack of dialogue. Here is an issue of power between the oppressed and the free. The oppressed do not have the power to communicate their situation. What we need is empathy for both sides where power is more equally distributed. The film shows how barriers can be broken down--the Israeli filmmaker allows a Palestinian woman to have a voice for the Palestinian cause and how the only way to find a path to peace is to listen to what is being said. I could relate to both sides and as an Israeli citizen that is not always east to do. We watch as the complexities of the issue are unraveled and we see that the easiest way to bridge the gap is through listening to each other speak. This can also be the most difficult thing to do.
The Palestinians live in misery under the occupation but they maintain a lust for armed resistance and revenge stops them from allowing the situation to get any better. When Avigail said to the Arab mother "we, the mothers should feel each other's pain and work for wats to make the pain stop for future generations", she was not trying to justify the occupation or the transgressions of Israel. We do not know how she really feels abut the occupation. What she wanted to do was to get the Palestinian women to agree that violence has to stop. Ayat's mother would not meet her on that. She claimed that violence was necessary as long as Palestinian demands were not satisfied.
Alleviating the misery of the Palestinians is not the top priority. They could do this by honestly working toward the two countries living side by side in peace but to them this would be a peace of humiliation. They want their lands and their fields back--will this guarantee a good life for them? This seems little more than sentimentalism.
This is not an easy movie to watch and the opposite views of the mothers comes as no surprise. We are al fully aware that the endless cycle of death achieves nothing.
To die in Jerusalem
Guy Tower | Howard, Colorado | 03/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Great documentary, but embarassing to buy a DVD from Amazon. I used to be a big DVD buyer there, but like with this latest one, I invited a lot of friends to see it. 3/4 toward the end of the movie, the DVD froze and stopped playing. We never saw the end of it. My DVD player is not the problem, as other DVD's played well and it's a great unit. The DVD is of a bad quality, and I am tired of trying to find a receipt to return the DVD.. so be warned!"
Another statistic...
Ruby Marlowe | NYC, NY | 08/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is why I can't support the Israelis or Palestinians. I learned of this tragedy when I first saw the infamous Newsweek cover photo of the girls. I thought, "My God, they could be twins!" I showed it to Arab friends (none of whom are Palestinian, I admit) and Israeli friends (not particularly religious) and asked them if it was really true how (at times) you can't tell the difference between an Israeli and an Arab (I'd always heard that from my father). They said yes, sometimes it can cause a problem.

I've read so many books on varying standpoints (left, right, center, and straight up bare bones population/religion/ethnicity stats) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that I just get frustrated! Two girls under the age of 18 are dead because of this insanity! These people need to pull their heads out of the sand and realize that the Knesset and Ramallah don't give a damn about them! Money, power, and death is orgiastic to politicians and the wealthy- yes there are rich Palestinians living inside and out of the PA.

Did the Holocaust happen? Without a doubt! But I don't see Israel standing up for the Darfurians or standing up for the million-plus Armenian Christians who were slaughtered by the Turks in 1917 (BTW the beloved Moshe Dayan was born in the Ottoman Empire- dhimmi!). Israelis start cleaning your ears! As for the Palestinians, wake up! The revered Yasser Arafat and his FATAH party were pretty well-off were they not? And isn't his upper class-borne Palestinian Christian widow, Suha, known for her lavish lifestyle and the fact that she refused to live in the PA?

Does that disgusting wall make life better for anybody? Will getting land and villages back make the Palestinians truly happy? Do Israelis want to live under the gun? But it's making certain people rich, while everybody else suffers. I think this film does an excellent job is demonstrating the cultural barrier between the two societies. Avigail's family were very Westernized, in fact they had time here in the U.S. But she can't understand why Um can't speak to her without her husband Abu being present. On the other hand, Ayat's best friend Haifa did say that some of their school friends didn't celebrate her as a martyr, they were slandering her. And Shadi (Ayat's fiancee- that's right FIANCEE- Rachel didn't want to date because it would interfere with school and the only way a Muslim girl could have a boyfriend was to submit to a typically arranged marriage) claimed he would've stopped her had he known of her intentions.

I see how beautiful Jerusalem is, but none of that crosses over into the Dehesheh refugee camp where Ayat was from. I feel sympathetic to both families, and especially to the Palestinian Christian minister (and I hope he's alright- thank you Hamas) who played mediator trying to help Avigail understand the intricacies of the Arab-Islamic culture. But with the recent attacks in Gaza (and the crap in Lebanon), I don't think there's much hope for peace talks."
Beautiful and heart renching.
Ammar Al Marzouqi | WI, USA | 09/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A true documentary, no hidden agenda. A great insight into the daily struggles of both sides of the Palestinian-Isreali conflict. I would recommend it for everyone."