A Third Way - Settlers & Palestinians as Neighbors
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Our feature documentary in-progress: about courageous Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank, who decide, whatever the future holds, they need to get to know the strangers who live so close to them. We have been filming a handful of inspiring ... More ...

After more than 6 years of work, we are almost finished our feature-length documentary, “A Third Way - Settlers and Palestinians as Neighbors,” filmed almost entirely in the West Bank, over the last six years. Our movie is an inspiring story of the unique “settler rabbi for peace,” Rabbi Menachem Froman, and his proteges, both settlers and Palestinians. While many people regard settlers and West Bank Palestinians as natural enemies, our movie zooms in on unusual members of both groups who go against that conventional wisdom.

Rabbi Froman, while being a settler most of his adult life, was also longterm friends with Yasser Arafat, and met many times with Sheikh Yassin, the spiritual founder of Hamas. In our film he says, drawing on traditional Jewish wisdom, “Loving my neighbor is the essence of my religion, and the Palestinians are my neighbors.”

 

In the last few years of Froman’s life (he died in 2013), a small group of his proteges - both settlers and Palestinians - began to try to expand his work to greater effect. Our documentary chronicles both Froman’s provocative activities and the loose movement that continues today, begun by his proteges.

 

One of the Palestinians involved in this current work is Ali Abu Awwad. Abu Awwad’s brother was killed by Israeli soldiers in 2000. Soon after, Abu Awwad joined the Bereaved Family Circle, a group of Palestinians and Israelis who have all lost family members to the conflict. Late in our film, Abu Awwad echoes Froman’s words, “After years, I found that Palestinian freedom should pass through Jewish hearts.”

 

“A Third Way” is not a “feel good” film – besides showing scenes of reconciliation that can take place in face-to-face meetings, it also shows the fundamental inequality between the Israeli and Palestinian sides. As Abu Awwad says, “Of course we want peace, but first Palestinians need a PLACE to be peaceful.”

Still, our movie chronicles the courageous, improbable friendships that cross borders and that may be the seeds, growing right now, of a possible better future for all in the Holy Land.

“A Third Way” includes extensive time spent with Froman and his students; commentary by well- known writers Gershon Baskin and Yossi Klein Halevi; and archival footage of Rabbi Froman with Yasser Arafat, and with Sheikh Yassin (their controversial appearance together on a Hamas stage in Gaza City, in October, 1997).


Directed by Harvey Stein. Produced by Brad Rothschild.

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