This week the first season of the Israeli series Vale of Tears, which follows IDF soldiers fighting in the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War, came to an end. Jonathan Spyer liked much about the show, but notes a disturbing failure:
[I]t is frustrating once more to see Israeli society and military culture portrayed very clearly through a kind of post-Zionist and leftist lens. Not because I want to see nationalist propaganda on screen (I very much don’t), but simply because this [perspective] deliberately omits a salient element of the Israeli-Jewish experience—[that of the segment of Israeli society motivated] by a sense of Jewish national rights, Jewish tradition, and [a belief in] the rightness of Israel’s cause vis-à-vis the Arab effort to destroy it.
This [set of beliefs] stands at the center of Israeli Jewish society, and is reflected in its voting patterns, much of its cultural product and consumption, its levels of religious and traditional observance, and so forth. This is the side of Israeli society that, despite the renaissance of Israeli cinema and TV drama in recent years, rarely makes it to the screen, and even more rarely makes it to international audiences, but understanding of which is crucial to understanding the country and its decisions and directions.
A considerable part of [Vale of Tears] was concerned with social and political discussion. In this area, we had a very large helping of the far-left, anti-Zionist critique of Israel, and even a scene where an articulate and serious character enunciates the Arab nationalist case against Zionism and Israel. There was not one sentence, however, in which the case for Jewish national rights and sovereignty in Israel was made. This is a rather odd and disappointing state of affairs. Its main deleterious effect, I think, is that it results in a lurid . . . and distorted picture of Israeli society being presented both to the domestic audience and, no less importantly, to international viewers.
Read more on Jonathan Spyer: https://jonathanspyer.com/2020/12/09/two-thoughts-on-the-israel-tv-series-valley-of-tears/