Next Tuesday and Wednesday – September 4th and 5th – at 9 p.m. BBC Two will air a two-part programme titled ‘We Are British Jews‘.
“In a two-part series, eight British Jews with a broad range of opinions, beliefs and practices, go on a journey to explore what it means to be Jewish in Britain today and examine some of the most pressing questions and challenges facing the Jewish community at home and in Israel.
In the first episode, the group meet in Manchester, home to the UK’s largest Jewish community outside of London. After getting to know each other, and discovering their differences, they explore what antisemitism looks and feels like in modern Britain and reflect on how perceptions of Israel affect them here at home. They meet the owner of a local restaurant which has been attacked a number of times in recent years and talk to a Labour MP who has been the focus of abuse online. The group go on to meet with Jewish students, where they hear how they have needed security when they have held Israel events on campus.
The group then travel to Israel, the country many of the group call their homeland. Starting their journey on a Kibbutz, a communal farm, they get some stark reminders of the realities of life in the Jewish State and meet a young American woman who has volunteered to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces.”
“In the second episode, the group continues their journey in Israel. The group travel the country and go to the occupied West Bank, meeting with people from across the religious and political divide – Israelis and Palestinians – who force them to question their long-held views.
The group travel to Efrat, considered by the international community to be an illegal settlement built on land Israel doesn’t own. There they meet a settler who explains why he thinks this is just a regular town. In Hebron, they meet Noam, spokesman for the Jewish Settlers. He explains why he thinks Jewish people have a biblical right to the land there. They also meet Tsipi, a prominent Jewish activist whose father was murdered by a Palestinian. Challenged by some of the group about how Palestinians living in Hebron are treated, she gives them her perspective on the reason for restrictions on their movement and explains why she and fellow settlers have no plans to leave the town.
They also meet with Palestinians – Issa, an activist, Fadi, who tells them what his life is like living behind the West Bank’s separation barrier, and Atta, a Palestinian farmer living near Hebron who says his land was bulldozed by the Israeli authorities.
With their journey drawing to an end, the group head to Jerusalem. There, they visit the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in the world for Jews, before a moving meeting with two fathers – a Palestinian and an Israeli – who have both lost young daughters to the conflict and are now working together for peace.”
An interview with the programme’s producer can be found here and her post about the making of this BBC commissioned programme is here.