Inside the NYJFF: A mother reflects on the the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
A Refusenik’s Mother is a film that describes the drama of a ‘moral objection’ from a mother’s point of view. It reflects some of the deepest dilemmas of the Israeli society: the occupation and its moral consequences, recruitment to the army as an unquestioned norm, the moral state of the Israeli society and the way it treats its next generation.
New York Jewish Film Festival correspondent Ronit Waisbrod spoke with the documentary’s protagonist, Marit Moran-Zameret.
Ronit Waisbrod: How did it all start?
Marit Moran-Zameret: Everything started with [my son] Shimry’s decision to refuse to join the Israeli army. In his opinion, serving in the Israeli army, and fight the Palestinians in the occupied territories, is an immoral deed that he objected to and he was absolutely determined.
RW: What went in your mind as Shimry’s decision settled?
MMZ: My first thoughts were: what went wrong? Why is my son different? Why can’t he be like all the other boys his age? I argued with him, and did whatever I could to change his mind. I was afraid of the punishment and the consequences of his decision on his future.
RW: When did you have a change of heart?
MMZ: As time went by, I became more involved with the cause and with other parents. I decided to act; I started attending meetings of the “parents group,” and took part in the political and public struggle. My views gradually evolved.
RW: How did the last few years change you as a person? What did Shimry teach you?
MMZ: [Shimry’s] generation looks at the Israeli reality differently then my generation. I was trapped in the fears that Israel existence is not to take for granted and that every day can bring another Holocaust. My views have changed, and I believe we need to take into consideration the needs of both sides in this conflict.
RW: How does the present situation in Gaza affect the feelings and thinking of the people in Israel in regard to the refuseniks?
MMZ: The situation now makes both sides more radical where each supports its own views even more strongly. Those who support the army actions base their opinions on the increase in Palestinian rebellious activities, and the refuseniks on the other hand, still believe strongly that this is not the way for a long term solution and there must be a better way.
RW: What is the most important thing you want to convey with the film?
MMZ: I wanted to give voice to the people in Israel who object to the occupation and don’t agree with the ways Israel conducts its actions in the occupied territories; people like Shimry and his friends that chose to follow their beliefs despite the grave consequences; and people who believe that their Zionist forefathers dreamt of a state that takes into consideration safety for its inhabitants with moral humanistic values. In Shimry’s eyes the objection to serve the Israeli army is an act of true contemporary Zionism.
Buy tickets to A Refusenik’s Mother: Mon Jan 19: 8:30