My Land Zion

What young woman would leave New York to have her first child in a war zone? Who would choose to give birth in a place where kids get blown up riding on school buses or sitting in cafés? Where thousands of eighteen-years-olds kill or get killed as soldiers? I am that woman. I went home to give birth to my daughters in Israel. I wanted to raise them in my land Zion, the land of my ancestors, the land that I love. Now, 16 years later, my daughters will soon be old enough to join the Army, and be forced to defend a state and its myths that are tearing my homeland apart. Why do I choose to stay?
On a journey through rocks and fields, and across three generations of Israelis, I encounter the myths that shaped the state and me. I confront the actions of my parents and the hopes of my daughters. I visit a Holocaust survivor and hear the doubts of her son, a historian and a parent, like me. I confront a Jewish settler whose husband was killed by a militant Palestinian and I meet a Palestinian girl who lives in Israel.
It was my choice to live in the land of my ancestors and now it is my daughters’ home, too. A state of myths and sacrifices, where our sons and daughters still grow up to kill or get killed. How can I stay in a state that devours its children?

“…With a searing honesty, [Cohen Gerstel’s films] lead you through a personal and sometimes grueling process of trying to make sense of the relationship between past and present, the individual and the collective, the self and the ‘other.”  Emily Gottreich, Vice Chair, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Univ. of California at Berkeley, introduction  before the screenings of My Terrorist and My Land Zion at the centre Apr. 2007.

"Remarkably brave and understanding"

London Telegraph. Dec. 2nd. 2004.

"A fine quality of Yulie Cohen's films in her skill and courage to expose the doubt one's convictions when challenged.  In My Land Zion she confronts friends and family about a central Israeli Jewish Dilemma, what is most important: life or land? By simple taking her own situation and personal relations as the starting point, she sensitively delves into complex feelings and issues facing the inhabitants of Israel, blending many subtleties into her search for understanding." Dox short reviews - May 2005

"Critical thinking at its best…should be used in any classroom to show students how we can turn a critical eye on our own lives and societies to grow, mature, and seek better solutions and better futures".  Becky Torstrick, Dept of Anthropology and Director of Women's Studies Indiana University, Author of The Limits of Coexistence: Identity Politics in Israel.

Festivals & Screenings:

1. Adelaide International Film Festival AUSTRALIA Feb. '05
2. University Of  East London Feb. '05
3. The Norwegian Film Institute Oslo, Apr. '05
4. Nansen Dialogue Project, Nansen Academy, Lillehammer, Norway, Apr. 05.
5. Ecuadorian documentary film festival, Encuentros del Otro Cine, Quito, Apr. ‘05
6. Israeli/Palestinian Awareness Day College of the Atlantic, Maine US May '05
7. DocinEurope, the Italian meeting with European documentaries, Italy July '05.
8. SønDok (SunDoc), EDN  cinematheque Copenhagen Sep. 18th '05.
9. Makor Theater NYC Oct. '05
10. Hampton's Film Festival, Conflict and Resolution section, Oct. '05
11. Siskelfilmcenter, Chicago Conversation at the Edge - Daniel Eisenberg, Professor,  Film, Video, and New Media School of the Art Institute of Chicago Oct. '05
12. University of Maine, Oct. '05
13. Harvard University, Dr. Sara Roy Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Oct. 05
14. University of Notre Dame and Indiana University South Bend, Oct. 05
15. International Mediterranean Film Festival Montpellier, France, 21-30 Oct. '05.
16. Kassel Documentary Film festival, Germany. Nov. '05
17. Middle East Studies Association USA – Annual meeting Nov. '05
18. Global Cinema Café, Center for Action Research, sponsored by: Princeton University International and Third World Centers. New Jersey, Dec. 05.
19. The House of World Cultures, Berlin, Jan. '06.
20. World Community Film Festival in British Columbia, Canada. Feb.’06.
21. Festival "SguardiAltrove" (i.e."Sights on elsewhere"), in Milan, Italy. Feb. '06
22. Unifem Film Festival, Florida, March ‘06.
23. Voice Forward, Toronto. March '06. Stacey Donen & Amit Broyer.
24. Vancouver Jewish Film Fest Apr. 06
25. Toronto Jewish Film Fest May 06
26. NYC, Makor at the Y92nd St. TIKUN, June 1st 2006.
27. International Festival of Humans Rights, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Oct. ‘06.
28. University of California, Berkeley as part of the Spring 2007 Interdisciplinary Lecture Series of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Apr. 2007
29. Warsaw Jewish Film Festival, Nov. ’07.
30. Paris: an exhibit/event for the 60 years of coexistence in Israel Palestine, with the City of Paris, in the Cite International des arts de Paris,  June 2008.
31. Jerusalem, a course of Van Lear Institute for Palestinians, Oct. ’08.
32. Berlin, Heinrich-Böll-Foundation Nov. 23rd, 2008 event for the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel.
33. Oslo, Paradise How? A Palestinian-Israeli Film event organized by the Norwegian Film Institute, Apr. 2009.  

Educational Use at:

34. Zochrot, learning centre Remembering the Nakba,
35.  Naveh Shalom for the UN sponsored encounter with Jewish Settlers, The National Security College, for a seminar: Creating a Consciousness and Narratives, Hebrew University Library, Jerusalem.
36. Bezalel, Art Academy, Jerusalem

37. University of California, Berkeley

38. Harvard University
39. Columbia University
40. Swarthmore College, Prof
41. NYU Tich school of Art
42. University of Miami
43. Barry University
44. Emory University
45. University of MD/College Park
46. Duke University
47. College of the Atlantic Maine
48. Rochester Inst. of Tech.
49. Lycoming College
50. University of Michigan
51. Wellesley College
52. Northern VA Com College
53. University of California, San Diego
54. Temple Beth El, ME
55. Madison Area Tech College
56. Truckee Meadow Community College, NY
57. Grace Lutheran Church, Arizona
58. George Town University
59. Jewish Education Ctr./Cleveland
60. Yale University
61. Failrleigh Dikinson Univ. NJ
62. Esperanza Peace & Justice, Univ. of WA/Seatle
63. Univ. of Notre Dame
64. Action Lib Media Svcs/CA
65. Univ. of San Diego
66. Univ. of Alberta
67. Swarthmore College.

68. Canada: York University, Toronto, University of Windsor, Ontario
69. Australia: Video Education, Bringing Learning to Life
70. UK:  Judith Werchow Jewish Agency emissary for RSGB and RSY-Netzer,
71. Denmark: Danish Film Institute
72. Norway: Norwegian Film Institute
73. Serbia, Center for Nonviolent Action, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Sarajevo
Nansen Dialogue Center, Sarajevo TERCA, Mostar/Sarajevo

74. Serbia Peace Academy, Orli Fridman, Memory and its role in Conflict and Conflict Transformation​

75. Alma, School for Hebrew Culture, Tel Aviv

76. Stanford Yniversity, Stanford California.

77. Reconcelliation Center, Bereaved Families for Peace, Israel, Palestine

78. University of MA/Amherst

79. University of CA/Riverside

80. University of TX/EL Paso

81. Northeastern University

82. Stanford University

83. Syracuse University

© Yulie Cohen 2019

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