As an American Jew trying to deal with the stress of Trumpland, I can only imagine the psychological ramifications of living in Israel. As that country's drift to the right preceded America's, so did the heated rhetoric. We saw the American version in Trump's campaign. Ironically, Yuval Rabin pointed to the similarities in an August 2016 editorial.
Danae Elon's new documentary, "P.S. Jerusalem," offers a bird's-eye view of a society at war externally and internally. It is a three-year visual diary. Danae records her move from Brooklyn, New York, back to the city of her childhood, Jerusalem.
Having left the city at 21, Danae's memories are not the only baggage she carries with her. Her personal history is informed by more than the location of her early youth.
Danae's father was Amos Elon, noted writer on the state of Israel, and later the changes wrought by the 1967 war. As a journalist and intellectual, he repeatedly examined the ramifications of the occupation.
Amos Elon believed that the settlements created less security for Israel. He saw the changes that holding these territories yielded, and became disillusioned with what his country had become. As a result, he left Israel. He also entreated his daughter never to return.
Amos Elon's point of view changed dramatically from 1948, the year of the Arab-Israeli War. At that time, he did not include the destruction of Palestinian homes and that population's displacement in his reporting. By 1970, three years after the game-changing Six-Day War, a new path was being forged. Elon did not believe that what was to come was what "the founding fathers envisioned." He said, "What was planned as a safe haven turned out to be a country engaged in perpetual war." For him, Israel became qualified by "high tragedy and unending strife." The 7-year-old who emigrated with a family fleeing Vienna, and adopted a Hebrew name at 18, became consumed by the shattering loss of the "dreams of a just society."
Danae serves as the narrator for her film. She describes her upbringing as political. Her mother took her to demonstrations. Her father's ethical concerns were always at the forefront of the family's consciousness.