We suggest the following activity, which can be used to deepen the students’ understanding of the topic under consideration.
The focus of the activity is the 1986 film Nadia. It the story of a teenage Arab Israeli girl from a village in the Galilee who decides to study at a Jewish boarding school in order to obtain the grades that she needs to study medicine. Much of the complexity of relations between Jews and Arabs becomes clear in the inter-personal relations that develop between Nadia and her Jewish contemporaries at the school. In terms of genre, the film has many of the marks of a ‘teenage film’ but the ideas are serious and well worth investigating.
The previous activity has given the students some background in the complex relationship between Arabs and Jews. We now suggest the following exercise:
- Begin by asking the class, in pairs or small groups, to write a scenario for a film in which an Israeli-Arab girl named Nadia attends an Israeli-Jewish boarding school. In which direction would they take the film? What would be its main themes?
- Ask them to share their scenarios with the whole class, explaining why they have chosen that particular scenario and theme.
- Now start watching the film, but stop every so often and ask the students to write down what is going through Nadia’s mind at that particular moment. For this purpose, we suggest stopping the film up to five times. Each time, ask the students to record Nadia’s reaction. They can either share their ideas at that moment, or wait until the end and reflect on these different moments together. The five good moments for such an exercise are:
- In her room at the school, after her first introductory interaction with her roommates.
- After the scene in her room where she says that she wants to be a doctor and is mocked by her roommate Nurit.
- After the discussion in the classroom over the question of a ‘sulcha’ (a formal pardon) between Amin’s father and the school.
- After the moment in which she hears about the bomb in the bus.
- After seeing the reactions of her schoolmates to the news of the bomb.
- We suggest one further stop: near the end of the film, when she tells Abed that the soccer game will not happen, stop the film and ask the students, in pairs, to write the ending that they would give the film.
- After the film has ended, take the students’ various endings and compare them with the film’s actual ending. Which is more convincing? Use this last exercise as an introduction to a discussion on the various issues that the film raises in connection with the subject of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel. Ask if, in the students’ opinion, they imagine that the film portrays reality well or whether it ‘sugar-coats’ it.
- You may want to end by mentioning that the film is one of a number made in the mid-1980s about the issues of relations between Arabs and Israelis, especially inside Israel. Each film had its own scenario and plot, but they can all be seen as metaphors for the complex reality of Arab-Jewish relations.