Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Prime Ministers

I just watched a very good documentary called The Prime Ministers. It is based on a book by Yehuda Avner, who worked closely with Israeli Prime Minsters Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin (as Ambassador to US). It gives a great front row perspective of the events of the times, including the birth of Israel, 6-Day War and Yom Kippur War.

The documentary has a very warm narration of the events by Avner, who shines some poignant stories on the history of which he was privy.  Coupled with the vintage footage of the day, it is very engaging.  Avner shares some tremendous anecdotes of interactions between Lyndon and Levi (I have always dreamed of writing a book on the Israeli PM and the Texan president in such title on the relation of the two leaders).  Avner also shares some fantastic stories between Golda and Dr. K, and the presence of luminaries like Begin and the eye-patched Dayan.

The movie was excellent.  And the thing that first brought my attention to it was a lackluster review in the Washington Post by its Weekend film critic.  The reviewer, Michael O'Sullivan, called it some-what interesting but monotonous.  And I wondered about Michael O'Sullivan's credentials to review the movie.  I am assuming that Michael O'Sullivan the film critic does not have a tremendous background in the Middle East.  I figured it was a lot of insider baseball, of which if you are not already interested is too thick.  I was right.  The movie was quite excellent, and I imagine it went over the head of dear Mr. O'Sullivan.  I hate to go on an ad hominem attack on the poor critic, but the disconnect between the engaging movie and lackluster review leads me to think that O'Sullivan was out of his element.

So it goes.

I recommend the movie to anyone interested in Israel and the Middle East as an engaging ringside seat to the events that have been seared onto the historical landscape.  The documentary offered a very tangible way to connect to the history, and I quite liked it.  If you are interested in the Sand Box, you probably will too.

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