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Blue Box (2019)

1 hr 10 min  |   English, Hebrew   |  Canada, Israel | Michel Weits

I belong to a generation of Israelis, raised on the myth: 'A land without a people for a people without a land'.

For as long as I remember, we were told how our founding fathers arrived in a barren country to make the desert bloom. We were spoon-fed images of Hebrew pioneers, clearing the land, draining the swamps and building the new towns and villages, which we now call home.

They could do this thanks to the JNF- the Jewish National Fund. Every Jewish home and school had this little blue box, where people put their spare change to help raise money for what they thought was the noble mission of acquiring the historic land of Israel for the Jewish people.

This is the official story, but not the whole story. Those little boxes changed the face of the Middle East.

The story behind how Israel obtained the land it sits on today and how its borders were drawn is one of the most sensitive topics that nobody really wants to talk about, even today, more than 70 years later.

Joseph Weits was the man who conducted this land take-over as head of the JNF from 1932 to 1970.

He was also my great grandfather.

No one can tell this story better than him, and thanks to more than 5,000 pages of his personal diaries, the film will be told in his voice. This first-hand account of his work and daily moral decisions provide a candid and intimate description of the events in real time.  We will juxtapose archives and on location shooting, and use animation to bring my grandfather’s words to life.

 

The JNF was the heart’s desire of Jews around the world and promised hope for a safe haven for refugees. Weits' diaries reveal the untold role of this organization in carrying out the semi-official policy of transferring Palestinian lands to Jews.

The diaries are a missing link, offering a remarkable story of how one national narrative was created, even at the expense of another.

 

When I was 12, I found the diaries and started to read. Since then I cannot let it go. It is a great responsibility for me to tell the story they hold. This is not an easy journey for me but I am eager to confront the facts and ask difficult questions.