By: Dandan, K4P Jerusalem Intern
On Thursday, February 5, 8th graders joined their parents and faith advisors for a private screening of the film “Dancing Arabs” at Cinema City in Jerusalem. Now in their third year in Kids4Peace, these students now belong to the Roots group, which focuses on identity, racism, and responsibility.
When reflecting over his past two years in the Pathway to Peace program, Omri, a 13 year old Jewish boy, said: “It has really helped me that I knew others outside from my school and my community, and when they talk about the news and things that happened, I don’t think ‘oh all of this they’re all like that.’ I think about my friends. Now I see things from other perspectives.”
Released on December 2013, “Dancing Arabs,” directed by Eran Riklis, is based on a semi-autobiographical story written by Sayed Kashua. On the surface, it is the story of a brilliant young Palestinian boy named Eyad who wins a scholarship to attend the most prestigious art and science academy in Jerusalem. There, he falls in love with a Jewish Israeli girl named Naomi, and the development of their relationship takes center stage. Sharing the stage is Eyad’s budding friendship with a wheel-chair bound Jew named Yonatan who slowly loses control of his body from Lou-Gehrig’s disease. Throughout the film, the lighthearted comedic opening transitions into a hard reality where political climates change; decisions bring distance; and, death makes its guest appearance. In the end, there was a heavy emotional atmosphere in the room. A few parents could relate so deeply to the events portrayed on screen that they said, “That’s my story.”
After the screening, the kids and parents moved into their discussion groups, where faith advisors asked a few questions about the film such as: “What are your first reactions to the film?” “To which character were you able to relate to?” “How did you feel in regards to the relationships between the Palestinian and Jewish youth?
“What message are you taking away from the film?” asked Nadav, a Jewish advisor, as a closing question to his discussion group.
Adam, another 13 year old Jewish boy, said: “That we have things to fix.”