How to make you to support Israel, aka thoughts on “Line of Life with Golda Meir” (Israel, 1977, 12 min)
“Line of Life with Golda Meir” is a 12 minute Israeli documentary/interview from 1977, produced by Krosney Productions for the “The United Jewish Appeal” and made available for free online by The Spielberg Jewish Film Archive on the YouTube channel of Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Here is my page about the film with synopsis. You may want to watch the film first, at the end of this post, before reading my thoughts about it.
Propaganda or if you prefer marketing movies can have three different kinds of results. If you are already positively predisposed to what the advertisement sells (and if it is well-done) it will surely make your preference stronger. If you are already against the message/product you might feel that is getting pushed onto you and your antagonistic feelings are strengthened. Most people, for most products, are probably somewhere in the middle and a well-executed ad can produce a buy-in.
What does this have to do with a 1977 “interview” with Golda Meir? As the opening and closing credits clearly indicated this 12 minutes long piece was created for UJA, whose mission was to raise funds first for Jews in Europe and later, once it was established, for Israel. This short film is clearly intended to support the stated goal: evoke feelings of Jews outside Europe that would make them contribute to help financially Israel.
Some of the themes include:
- The diverse origin of the population of Israel: more than 100 countries
- The fresh wave of immigrants from the USSR and their ongoing struggle.
- Successful agriculture by people who were not in the field before
- The success (so far) of the dream of building a country from nothing in the sand of the desert
- A lot was accomplished already but there is more. The reason not more was done yet was the 5 wars the country had fought.
- Nobody hates war more than Israel but has to do it for defensive, existential reasons.
- Education is a top priority. For everyone including people with special needs.
- There is no limit to what Jews can do, given the chance and resources.
- Doesn’t matter whether you are instinctively protective of Israel and Jews or for logical reasons (as long as you do and give).
The very last lines of the narration feels like the slogan of UJA: “Partners in a lifeline to tomorrow.”
So how do I feel about it? I enjoyed the positive tone, the (by now quite dated) visuals of the budding country and its history, the voice of Golda Meir, who I consider a national hero. At the same time I felt being pressured to value Israel, the country. I already did, even if I often don’t agree with the politics of any of its given government. I frequently react when being pushed with a reactionary push against. Thus, unfortunately this was a bit too strong propaganda for my taste. How was it for you?
Produced and directed by Herbert Korsney
Co-directed and edited by Steve Edwards