To Die In Jerusalem | Notes & Review

Posted on March 28, 2011


To Die in Jerusalem follows Avigail Levy–Rachel’s mother–in her search for answers and reasons behind the suicide bombing of Palestinian Ayat al-Akhras that killed the two of them on March 29, 2002. While the primary narrative is through the Israeli experience, the producers did give voice to the Palestinian/Muslim perspective and contrasted the two very well through Levy’s visits to the jail where female terrorists are held, and especially through the climax of the film, the meeting of the two mothers via satellite TV.

In sum, the main emotions and rationales that emerged were that Palestinians feel oppressed and stripped of their rights with no recourse as the occupation continues. Israelis cannot conceive of any reason for violence in the peace process and believe that suicide bombers die for nothing. Muslims, however, see their deaths as martyrdom, an honorable and purposeful act in an effort to free their people. What started out as “eye for eye” truly has become “life for life.” As is mentioned quite clearly in the film, as long as these two attitudes persist, everyone continues to be both the protagonist and the victim, for in the Middle East those identities go hand-in-hand.

Ironically, the day after I finished this film, another bombing just took place in Jerusalem:

My wife told me to go read The Lemon Tree, which I will hopefully get to one day. My heart told me to pray. My soul is begging for someone in this בלגן to begin loving their enemy.