Everywhere we turn these days, it seems as if walls are staring back at us. Their powers are magical: They protect and alienate; keep people both in and out; and can even—as we have all seen—bring mighty governments to a total standstill. Israel, too, has its share of walls, and no, not just the West Bank separation wall. In this four-part miniseries, we visited some of the country’s most iconic walls, journeying from the Bronze Age to the modern Start-Up Nation, from the soccer pitch to the battlefields of the Six-Day War, from the holy to the political.
In this, our season opener, a story we have been researching for an entire year: a dazzling narrative of a man searching for someone he had first met, more than half a century earlier, at the Western Wall.
On June 7, 1967, Israeli paratroopers entered Jerusalem’s Old City and reached the Western Wall. It was a solemn moment of jubilation and contemplation. After all, for nearly 2,000 years, Jews around the world had prayed for, and dreamed of, returning to the Kotel. It was then that a high-pitched scream pierced the almost-sacred silence. That is the starting point of an unusual story that connects many of the most dramatic chapters of Israeli history and forces us to reflect on the most pertinent aspects of Israeli identity. Host Mishy Harman takes us on a surprising journey in search of an Israeli symbol: a Jewish-Arab Kotel baby.
The original music in this episode was composed, arranged, and performed by the Israel Story band led by Ari Wenig and Dotan Moshonov, together with Ruth Danon, Eden Djamchid, and Ronnie Wagner-Schmidt. The end song is “Adam Betoch Atzmo” by Shalom Hanoch. Additional music by Broke for Free. This episode was researched by Maya Enoch, edited by Yochai Maital, Zev Levi, and Julie Subrin, and mixed by Sela Waisblum. Thanks to Alex Ansky, Liron Levi, David and Dorothy Harman, Avi Shachar, Racheli Frand, Izi Mann and his team of researchers, Rafi Schoffman, Dani Schoffman, Yotam Michael Yogev, Rana Fahoum, Bayan Zoabi, Ora Rajevsky, Yael Neuman, Ahuva Rosenberg, Uri and Yael Rapaport, Danna Harman, Itzik Sabag, Halel Eshed, Matan Wygoda, Dan Shiloach, Hannah Barg, and Shuli Natan. It is based on Israel Story’s latest live show tour, The Wall. Thanks to all who made that tour possible, and especially to our JCC Manhattan family: Sheila Lambert, Megan Whitman, Rabbi Joy Levitt, Jordana Monzano-Sandler, Amanda Crater, Jeff Fontaine, Sam Brunswick, Philip Sandstrom, and Matt Temkin. To Pamela Lavitt, Amee Sherer, the University of Washington Hillel staff, Terri and Damian Green, Julie and Lyle Margulies, Jane Becker, and Jason Kintzer. And to our partners on the Upper East Side coalition: Karin Lagziel, Rabbi Mo Salth, Rick Rosenbluth, Sean Fogarty, Central Synagogue, Park Avenue Synagogue, the 92nd Street Y, the UJA, and JAFI.