Yom Yom Film Analysis

Yom Yom Film Analysis

Yom Yom film was directed and produced by Amos Gitai to mark the Israel-Palestine relationship with Israel. Set in Haifa, which is a top industrial city, the film is about Moshe Ivgi, who is suffering from mental anxiety due to his divided loyalties. Moshe is born of both the Jewish and the Arab ancestry, since being mother Hanna Meron is a Jew while his father, Yussuf Abu-Warda is an Arabian. Moshe feels disconnected from both his Jewish and Arabian ancestry and wonders whom to identify with given the stark differences between the two ethnic communities.

The film explores how ownership of land is treated between the Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. However, his mentality is tested when a friend offers to purchase Moshe’s expected land inheritance and that sparks life in him as an Arabian. Thus, Moshe’s revival is achieved as his instincts of being an Arabian man are realized to help and stop the transaction. Moshe objects to the idea of Jew owning the land on which the family bakery business thrives to give in the way for the development of a retail mall. In the film, the characters raise the question about land ownership, “Do you think Jews are potential buyers for Arab land”[1]. Moshe’s father agrees to the fact that the Jews were trying to use their economic advantage to buy more land from the Arabs. Therefore, he refused as Moshe to sell their land to Jule’s relative who was a real estate developer in Haifa. The Jewish colonizing agents used business objectives to buy land and this encouraged shifting of the Arab people as the purchase effectively prevented them from using their land[2]. Sometimes, Arabs are offered alternative land, which compromised their family attachment to land as a livelihood resource. The compensation offered to the Arabians landowners was very little compared to the value of the resource. For example, Yussuf was offered only 3000 shekels for a prime plot on which his family’s bakery stood. Moshe’s father asserts that he sold the inheritance he gained from his father to buy the bakery’s plot. Therefore, the land was seen as a source of livelihood, but the Jews objective in the Middle East remains to purchase and own all the land to make the Arabs tenants or resettle them elsewhere.

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Moreover, “The Jewish Agency Executive debated the idea. Ben-Gurion observed: Why can’t we acquire land there for Arabs, who wish to settle in Transjordan?”[3] Arabs have faced various issues pertaining to displacement and transfer of their ancestral land to the Israelites through legal and illegal means. Ruthless Compulsion marked the main way that tenants and landless Arabs were transferred in bulk from Palestine to other concentration camps. The film shows that Moshe and his father were unwilling to let go of their land to the Jule’s relative as a natural right to a resource by the sheer notion of occupancy. On the other hand, the Israelites continued to execute the colonial policy of exporting Arabs from their ancestral homes by purchasing and forcing the landless tenants out. The ruthless compulsion of Islamic people caused tension that is seen in the film and still exists in the Middle East.

The film fits in the historic context of analyzing the Jewish-Arab relationship in the Middle East. The Voice of Israel is heard describing the negotiations about the Golan Heights, in which they want a portion of the land back. Similarly, Grisha and Moshe are against the deal to stripping the Arabian land for the Israelites to benefit. Yussuf refuses to sign the land contract for 3,000 shekels because the land must be preserved for the future generation. In Palestine, every physical feature of the land is overturned by the violence and unfair land distribution challenges that the Arabs consistently face.

The relationship between Yussuf and his wife Hanna is not constrained by their individual differences; rather, their cultural and ethnic diversity played a role. Yussuf asserts that after meeting his wife in a bus, he was betrayed by the hatred between the two communities to accept their destined marriage. However, Hanna’s father played a role in helping the two different persons come together in forming a marriage institution. Moreover, Hanna hated the way of war and was ashamed to be associated with funeral and burial rites that were often caused by social destruction. Therefore, she decided to donate her body to science to avoid facing the same graves that perpetuated violence in her opinion. This feeling of rejecting the physical life fits in the Israel-Palestine historic context, since the land has experienced episodes of endless violence and war perpetuated by both governments against their citizens.

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Occupation of the Zionist forces in Palestine caused the eventual displacement of the Arabs, who were former owners of the land and the state. “The fifteenth of May 1948 thus marked not only the birth of the state of Israel, but also the definitive defeat of the Palestinian”[4]. Arabs became victims within their land, and the Arab State was dissolved because of their poor military state compared to the advanced capacities of the Israel state. The next action after the 1948 creation of the new nation was the dispossession of land of the Arabs for the Israeli occupation. Therefore, over 400,000 people that represented a third of the Palestinian nation, who lived in targeted urban centers were dispossessed of their land[5]. Taking away of land represented the best colonization strategy that would ensure that at the end of the day Israelites claimed right to land either purchased or acquired through war and trickery. Arabs living in the towns of Jaffa and Haifa were dispersed, while their property was seized as represented in the film. Moshe’s family is facing a similar historic compulsion expulsion to enable a Jew own his father’s land. Similarly, in 1948 thousands of Arabs were expelled from the towns of “Lydda, Ramla, Acre, Safad, Tiberias, Baysan, and Bir Sabi”[6]. The film mirrors the reality of war and dispossession of land as a capital resource for human survival in the city of Haifa, which was the first town in 1948 to face expulsion. Land was either confiscated or bought without the will of the Arabs during the military campaign. Furthermore, at the end of war in 1949, over 77% of the land that was formerly held by the Arabs had exchanged hands to Israelite owners. Sheikh Izz first staged organized rebellion against the Israelites occupation in Haifa in 1935, but their revolt was broken up and land was confiscated from his followers, who were labeled as radicals[7].

The director of the film understood the political situation of the Arabs that made them look inferior to the Jews. This is seen through the personality of Moshe, who is inhibited by psychological stress and inability to resolve much needed individual identity. Moshe neither identified with his Arab ancestry since it seemed to him inferior to the Jewish maternal identity. However, when the Jews confronted him with a land purchase deal that mirrored the historic injustice against the Arabs on his face, he stood with his father to stop the proposed acquisition of their bakery’s plot. Therefore, the resilience of the people to fight for their identity is best revealed when threatened as a group by a perceived enemy. Moshe was reluctant to accept his identity as a Palestine child, up until he encountered the reality of being deprived because of his Arabian ancestry. The historical context within which land is associated with livelihood is quite different from the perspective of Jews and Arabs in the film. Muslims were concerned about their position in holding land in Palestine and they decided to raise a Muslim generation with the capacity to engage in direct combat to defeat Israel’s continued occupation[8]. Islamic leaders and their political counterparts discussed the idea of creating a society with a presence of Islamic deliverance views, and this led to the growth of Jihad. Moshe represents the growth of a new generation aware of their prejudiced state and condition within Palestine. His self-discovery is the form of rebirth that the Islamic leaders wanted to raise in the new generation. Moshe rose from moral bankruptcy shown by the absence of no spirit of struggle into a person with capacity to say no to social injustices. Similarly, the incapacity of Moshe to identify with the Arabian ancestry was a form of moral bankruptcy that required the revival of the Jihad as a response to catastrophes of 1948 and 1967[9].

In conclusion, the film Yom Yom film shows the mirrored experience of an Islamic youth, who is disconnected from the self- realization as the prejudiced member of the Palestine regions. Moshe did not know the position of his mixed ethnicity and led a reckless life up until a Jewish real estate developer, who wanted their land by force, threatened his family. The situation made Moshe realize his revived Islamic identity away from the maternal Jewish identity. The threat to his family made him realize that land was crucial and it was not meant for the purchase and acquisition. Similarly, the film asserts the colonial trend of dispossessing Arabs of their land by using the advanced economic state of the Jews.

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Bibliography

Morris, Benny, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited The Idea of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Thinking Before 1948. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004, 45-64.

Rogan, Eugene and Shlaim, Avi. The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 12-59.

Abu-Amr Ziada, Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza, Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1994.

“Yom Yom”. Dir. Amos Gitai. Kino Lorber films, 1998.

[1] Yom Yom”. Dir. Amos Gitai. (Kino Lorber films, 1998), 1.

[2] Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited: The Idea of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Thinking Before 1948 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 45.

[3] Benny, “Transfer’ in Zionist Thinking”, 46

[4] Eugene Rogan and Avi Shlaim, The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 13.

[5] Ibid. 13

[6] Eugene Rogan and Avi Shlaim, “The War for Palestine”, 14.

[7] Ibid. 25

[8] Abu-Amr Ziada, Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza, Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad (Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1994), 93.

[9] Ibid.

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