Picks and Pans Review: Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land
PBS (Mon., May 29, 9 P.M. ET)
This gripping, chilling, frustrating, enlightening documentary is an adaptation of David K. Shipler's 1987 Pulitzer Prize book about Israel. Shipler, who was based in Jerusalem for the New York Times from 1979 to '84, acts as the show's nonpartisan narrator. Like his book, the two-hour film goes behind the headlines to explore in human terms the conflicts between two cultures fighting for the same territory. Equal time is given to the points of view of people on both sides, from young, bomb-throwing terrorists to members of the older generation who survived the first atrocities committed by both Arabs and Jews. While the opening half of the documentary presents a history of Israel, the second half explores the Intifada, the current Arab uprising in the West Bank. This thoroughly gripping, anecdotal compilation of personal stories and memories ends with some hope—not a lot, but some.
Jeff Jarvis is on special assignment.
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