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The focus on David Levy is overwhelming and poignant, but his hero gets lost in it - voila! culture

2023-01-24T08:20:15.281Z

"David the Second King of Israel", the film about the former foreign minister, does a good job of showing all the racist glass ceilings that Mizrahim face in politics and in general. So what bothers him anyway?



He was ridiculed in the media and in Likud.

David Levy (Photo: Government Press Office, Amos Ben Gershom)

The political addicts - which is actually the majority of the people living in Zion - got a new movie to fight over.

"David the Second King of Israel" the film by Robi Elmaleh (the director responsible for the wonderful series "League 3") and the journalist/musician Amir Ben David (from the makers of "The Silver Platter" and recently "And the first memory" about Shlomo Artzi) which came out last night on Hot8, flooded his character again of one of the Likud seniors in the previous generation, David Levy.

For all the obvious reasons, the story he tells corresponds well with the current stars of Israeli politics.



The film is a kind of political biography of Levy - his immigration to Israel, his youth and joining the Likud, through his becoming one of the party's key figures under the leadership of Menachem Begin, the power struggles within it against Shamir and then Netanyahu, his departure and founding of the Gesher party, and his retirement from political life.

Levy is even interviewed a little, and interprets some of these stations himself.

lines have been crossed.

Levy and Netanyahu (Photo: Government Press Office, Sa'ar Yaacov)

Elmaleh and Ben David use this story as a test case for the rift between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim in particular, and specifically in politics.

They detail the multitude of obstacles and glass ceilings Levi encountered: the neglect of the establishment and the condescension on the part of foremen from the kibbutzim towards the new immigrants in Beit Shean;

The disdainful and racist attitude he encountered even within his party, the Likud, as well as the lack of solidarity on the part of other Mizrahi politicians;

and the injustice done to his public image, among other things through terrible popular jokes and crude imitations.

The accumulation of some of these things as well as others - it is actually argued between the lines - prevented Levy from becoming the first Likud leader (and perhaps also prime minister) from the east.



This film can be thought of as part of a wave of works that deal in this different way with the relationship between the right and the Mizrahi public in Israel, such as the books "Shonaim Sefer Ahavah" by Hillel Cohen and "The Second Israel" by Avishi Ben Haim, the docu "The Likudniks" by Omri Essenheim and the documentary series of Ron Kahalili.

The innovation of "David the Second King of Israel" is in presenting a political biography of a central figure in this fabric, and probably the most senior and significant of them.

This, while examining it through these glasses, as a test case of Eastern politics and the forces that limit it.

The view is sympathetic, but not uncritical, for example with regard to the alliance that Levy forged with the settlements, after he had previously fought against them.

More in Walla!

Avishai Ben Haim responded to Deri's verdict with a racist claim.

We didn't really expect anything else

To the full article

Watching the film is immersive, and not only because of the ugly truth it presents at its center in an effective and convincing manner.

Thanks to successful editing, fast pace, spectacular use of archival and journalistic materials and an effective script, it is much more fluid and beautiful than the average docu.

Everything is also accompanied by mesmerizing original music on which Amit Chai Cohen trusts, and Tal Avraham's trumpet stands out in particular.

Thanks to her, the political docu seems almost like a western.



Thus, one of the wise decisions of the creators is to bring the voice - known and recognized - of the non-Levi interviewees, most of whom are Likud members past and present, without their faces, as a kind of long sketch.

That way they never take the focus away from the central story.

These speakers, some of them from Levy's supporters and some from rival camps, politicians like Ehud Olmert, Meir Shtrit and Roni Milo or fellow travelers like Yaakov Berdogo, excel in honesty and incomprehensible directness.

Not introspective.

Levy, from the movie (photo: Ronen Kroc)

And at the same time it must be said that "David the Second King of Israel" innovates very little, even within the framework of its general theme of racism towards Easterners in politics and in general, and especially in everything that concerns the man at the center of the story: among all the intrigues, the power struggles and the same superiority that returns and returns all the time, it is precisely The character of Levi who gets lost.

Not sure we know him much better after watching.



Levy is indeed interviewed in the film, but he does not really open his heart, does not conduct any soul-searching of any kind about his decisions or actions, nor does he go into too much detail about the behind-the-scenes of the main events in which he was a partner or about his colleagues (except for his opponent at the time, Binyamin Netanyahu, that in the "hot tape" case he complained about "a Likud official surrounded by a bunch of criminals", which Levy describes as crossing a red line in politics).

Levy's personal life and family are almost completely absent from the film.

This could be understood if the political biography was more detailed, but this is not the case.

One of the interviewees in the film describes Levy's non-election as a great loss for the Israeli public, but the film struggles to detail what Levy, recipient of the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement, actually did in his many years as a public envoy.

The man's many years of work, in the Ministry of Housing for example or as a senior statesman, is condensed into a few minutes, described quickly, and in fact dwarfed by the scope of the discussion in front of his attempts to reach the leadership of the party and especially in front of the attitude of his colleagues.

Did we miss a prime minister?

Levy with Yasser Arafat (Photo: Government Press Office, Zvika Israeli)

Instead, "David the Second King of Israel" focuses on the terrible gap between the character and the image: an educated and successful man who was ridiculed into a caricature of a Moroccan with a heavy accent who eats mufflet, and was ridiculed simply because he was not born in the right place.

It is a sad, painful story, and unfortunately it is much more relevant today than is commonly thought, and it is doubtful that the lesson from it has been learned.

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  • David Levy

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Source: walla

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