Screen Doors


What can you say about a country that has 15 film schools and only four medical schools? Does it suggest Israel’s abiding love for cinematic distraction over the concerns of life and limb—or does it suggest something simpler and more reflexive, a preference for proliferation for its own sake, not all that different from the overwhelming variety of yogurts that are available in Israeli supermarkets? Perhaps the smaller the land, the more important the illusion of choice.

And what can you say about a country that has steadfastly refused to learn the rudiments of PR, both for political and cultural purposes? That invites journalists over, expenses paid, for a much-touted cultural event and then pretty much leaves them to their own devices once they arrive? That insists, say, on misspelling my last name as Mirkin rather than Merkin despite many emails over many months attesting to the correct spelling? Is it a form of arrogance or a kind of autism?

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