Israeli actress, model and activist Grace Mozes wants her fellow Israeli youth to keep on dancing.
Mozes showed her documentary film — titled “Keep on Dancing” — which is centered on the effects of the Intifada on youth culture in Israel, to about 40 students at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale Monday. A brief discussion with Mozes followed the screening.
Mozes’ visit, sponsored by the Yale Friends of Israel, or YFI, was the first event in the organization’s Israeli Culture Week and part of Mozes’ broader initiative of touring universities around the world with her message.
The English-language documentary covers the four days leading up to Israel’s 54th Independence Day. A shock of terrorist attacks on cafes, dance halls and other public recreational areas had occurred in the preceding weeks. Mozes described the climate as “horrible.”
“No one was leaving the house,” she said.
The movie catalogues emotional testimony from family and friends of terror victims, but focuses primarily on the youth club culture that was affected by mounting fear of attack.
The movie presented the dilemma facing young people concerning the future of Israel and how best to celebrate the independence of a country that has since struggled for existence. Musicians, party promoters and club-goers in Tel Aviv spoke to Mozes on camera about how their lives had been affected by their uncertain safety.
Yossi Fine, a publicist featured in the movie, summed up the youth attitude.
“We party like we’ve never partied before, ’cause the bomb could land here tomorrow,” he said.
At the talk, Mozes, 25, said she was frustrated because she thinks many people misunderstand her country.
“A lot of films are made about Israel, but they show Jerusalem, the army, the religious sector. I wanted to show the young culture we have — Israel used to be the best party scene in Europe,” she said.
The film contains images of dancing young people set to pulsing techno music, showing the Israeli spirit, Mozes said. Even while local DJs and musicians lamented the shrinking club culture, Eden Harel, a VJ with MTV in Israel, expressed optimism.
“I really believe music can unite people,” she said.
YFI Vice President Ricky Leiter ’06, who introduced Mozes, said Israel is fighting two wars: the first against terror, the second for world opinion. Mozes said she created this film with the intention of better educating global citizens about Israel’s unique circumstances.
A young Israeli in the film attempted to relate his country’s sentiments to American audiences.
“Think of that feeling you got on the 11th of September. That fear — that’s what we feel almost every day in Israel,” he said.
The film also contains shots of Palestinian children chanting against Israel and shows Palestinian soldiers burning American flags.
“I thought that was a little overblown, but [the idea of Palestinian anger is] definitely in the public consciousness in Israel,” Noam Greenberg ’07 said. “It was a very realistic film.”
Mozes said she had not encountered much opposition to her project. She also said she had mainly been screening the film to pro-Israel audiences.
“I haven’t encountered a pro-Palestinian crowd yet,” she said.
Leiter said the large number of Israel supporters at the screening did not bother him.
“This kind of event is naturally going to attract a pro-Israel crowd,” he said. “We did advertise all over the place.”
When asked about the climate of nightlife in Israel today, Mozes said it was “calmer.”