Woody Allen filming in Israel wouldn’t be kosher

Will the legendary director accept a presidential invite to film in Israel?

Kate Lieb By Kate Lieb

Each year, legendary film director Woody Allen films just one movie. Now, Israeli officials are pushing him to make Israel his next filming location. Not everyone thinks it would be a good move.

Woody Allen at premiere of “To Rome with Love” in June (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

During a trip to New York in March, Israeli President Shimon Peres proposed that Allen produce a film in the Mediterranean country, according to an article in Al Arabiya, a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates. Almost immediately, politicians in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv began vying to convince the famous American filmmaker to work in their respective cities.

Then, in June, Allen told the The Wall Street Journal that when he films overseas in places like Barcelona, London or Paris, it’s because of funding incentives. Upon hearing Allen’s comments, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles launched an online campaign to raise funds to help the Israeli proposals.

Though the officials may be excited about the prospect of Allen filming in the country, Kevin Bloom of South Africa’s Daily Maverick isn’t keen on the idea.

In an editorial, “Bullets Over Tel Aviv: Why Woody Allen Shouldn’t Shoot in Israel,” Bloom argues that despite Allen’s best intentions, his lack of knowledge about the country would inhibit his ability to make a good movie about Israel. Bloom shudders at the thought of Allen training his neurotic eye on Israeli-Palestinian relations and other tensions of the country’s culture.

“When Peres approached Allen to bring his talents to Israel, what he had in mind was a sweet movie that would paint the country in a favorable light,” he wrote, adding, “What Peres didn’t acknowledge, to himself or anyone else, is that even Allen can’t suck the politics out of Israel.”

Remarkably, despite having declared his love for Israel vehemently during interviews, Allen — an inveterate Jewish New Yorker — has never visited the country. He says he’d never journeyed there because he only travels to places he feels comfortable, like New York, Paris and Rome. He admitted he might venture to Israel in the near future because his daughters want to explore their Jewish heritage.

Bloom believes that Allen’s lack of familiarity with Israel would result in a bad movie.

“Here’s hoping that if and when the great director does visit Israel, it’s not to make a film,” Bloom said.

Straight to the Source