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Oscar-nominated ‘Omar’ puts Israelis in harsh light

Oscar-nominated ‘Omar’ puts Israelis in harsh light

LOS ANGELES — For cinematic observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this is a banner year, with both sides choosing Oscar submissions that center on the Israeli occupation.

Israel’s “Bethlehem,” which pits Shin Bet agents against diverse Palestinian factions eager to blow up the Jewish state, was eliminated early by the Academy Awards selection committee.

The Palestinian “Omar” is among the five finalists among foreign language films. Although it is considered a long shot to win the golden statuette, the judges in this category are notoriously unpredictable.

At the film’s opening, Omar (Adam Bakri), a handsome young baker, and the beautiful Nadja (Leem Lubany) pine for each other on opposite sides of the security fence.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 February 2014 12:56 )

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Claude Lanzmann of ‘Shoah’ (1985) offers another painful documentary

Claude Lanzmann of ‘Shoah’ (1985) offers another painful documentaryLOS ANGELES — When French director Claude Lanzmann finished filming and editing his eight-hour epic “Shoah” in 1985, he still had stashed away nearly 11 hours of interviews with one man. The man was Benjamin Murmelstein, the last president of the Jewish council, or Judenrat, in the Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto in Czechoslovakia and the only Nazi-installed “elder of the Jews” not killed during the Holocaust. Compressed into the 3 1/2-hour documentary “The Last of the Unjust,” t...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 February 2014 14:56 )

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‘Monuments Men’ recalls Allied effort to save Europe’s heritage

‘Monuments Men’ recalls Allied effort to save Europe’s heritageBOSTON — There’s nothing like a star-studded Hollywood movie to shine a light on a little-known piece of history. That’s the hope of Robert Edsel, who wrote the book that inspired “The Monuments Men,” the George Clooney-Matt Damon film that opens today, Feb. 7, in theaters across the country. The all-star cast also includes Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett. Clooney, who directed the film, teamed to write and produce it with Gr...

Last Updated ( Monday, 10 February 2014 08:14 )

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Israelis at Olympics

Israelis at OlympicsHACKENSACK, NJ — Evgeni Krasnapolsky and Andrea Davidovich glide around the ice, shadowing one another to the accompaniment of Nino Rota’s “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet.” At a rink in this New York City suburb, the figure-skating pair are refining their long program a few weeks before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, opening today, Feb. 7. Krasnapolsky, 25, and Davidovich, 16, are practicing their choreographed hand holding, lifts and throws at the indoor Ice House complex, wh...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 06 February 2014 13:12 )

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Film sparks renewed interest in 2006 anti-Semitic murder

Film sparks renewed interest in 2006 anti-Semitic murderSAINTE-GENEVIEVE-DES-BOIS, France — The phone calls from Africa, the calm demeanor of the suspects and their extreme caution left no doubt in the minds of detectives working the Ilan Halimi case: They were up against an international ring of professional kidnappers. It would be more than three weeks after Halimi’s abduction, when the young Jewish phone salesman was found dying on a suburban Paris field in February, 2006, that police finally realized their mistake: A gang of local amateurs h...
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Fleeing Europe’s darkness, filmmakers took refuge in California sun

Anthony Weiss A new exhibit in Los Angeles explores the roots and rise of film noir, and the generation of filmmakers who left the Nazi occupation and reinvented Hollywood. ... [Link]

Ashkelon mayor decides against ban on Arab workers

Marcy Oster Itamar Shimoni agreed to allow the Arab workers to complete the work, scheduled to take a week, and relocate the preschool students to the local community center. ... [Link]

Kipah-clad New Zealand boy, 4, smacked on head

Marcy Oster The boy was said to be traumatized by the apparent anti-Semitic incident, which was witnessed by his mother. ... [Link]

Wellesley College drops Hillel director, Jewish chaplain posts

Marcy Oster The decision comes as tensions have mounted on campus between the Jewish and pro-Palestinian communities. ... [Link]

Jordan’s parliament holds moment of silence for synagogue killers

Marcy Oster The gesture was held a day after the Jerusalem attack, which killed five, though the Jordanian government condemned the slayings. ... [Link]

Italian aliyah expected to double in ’14

Marcy Oster Several Italian Jewish leaders said economic distress figured strongly for the move, with Jews feeling that “they can lead a better life in Israel.” ... [Link]

From the Archive: Synagogues under fire

Raffi Wineburg Last week’s deadly attack in Jerusalem was not the first time terrorists targeted a synagogue. ... [Link]

Controversial Jewish nation-state bill passes Israeli Cabinet vote

Marcy Oster The Cabinet’s closed-door discussion on the bill, which moves to the full Knesset, reportedly degenerated into a shouting match. ... [Link]

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