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Nadia's Friends

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Nadia's Friends

(Doc., 60 min., DVD/BETA, color, 2006)
  • Written by: Bosmat Zaidenband & Chanoch Ze'evi
  • Directed & Produced by: Chanoch Zeevi – Maya productions
  • Sponsored by: The New Foundation for Cinema & Television, The 2nd Authority for Radio & Television and Avichai Foundation
  • language: Hebrew with English subtitles


Nadia and Chanoch have shared the same desk in their class in the Kfar Haroeh elementary school. In the course of their eight years together Chanoch was never conscious of the difference between them – Chanoch, a religious Jew, born and raised in Kfar Haroeh – the "jewel" of the religious Zionist movement – and Nadia – an Arab Muslim, born to the Abu – Isa family who lived (and still live) near the Kfar Haroeh village. In Nadia and Chanoch's class there were kids from all types and kinds – Jews and Arabs, religious & non-religious, from European origin ("Ashkenazi Jews") and from North African origin ("Sephardic Jews"), kids from politically right wing and left wing families. But the Religious Zionist movement has gone a great distance since that time, when it enables Nadia and her friends to learn together in the same class. Chanoch, the director of the film, mourns the loss of the tolerance and balance that he experienced as a child, pushed aside by political and religious extremism. Going on 40, Chanoch decides to go on a journey to look for his classmates, and organizes a class reunion for the first time in thirty years. In his meetings with his class mates he realizes that almost all of them have abandoned the principles they were taught in their childhood school and chose new, different ways of life. Nadia's Friends is a film about a journey to the past, to what was once the religious Zionism and to what it is today, to old friends and to the rift that grew between them over the years.



  • Special Honorary Mention – The Jerusalem International Film Festival, 2006


  • New London Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2008
  • Wesleyan University, USA, 2008
  • Kehilath Jeshurun, NYU, USA, 2008
  • Israefest Film Festival, USA, 2007
  • Rutgers University, USA 2007
  • Israfest, Israeli Int'l Film Festival in NY, L.A. and Miami, 2007
  • Syracuse International Film Festival, USA, 2007
  • Isratim – Paris Israeli Film Festival, France, 2007
  • Yale University, USA, 2007
  • The Jewish Experience Category – The Jerusalem International Film Festival, 2006


  • Tulane University
  • McGill University
  • Stanford University
  • Milwaukee Coalition for Jewish Learning
  • Duke University
  • UCLA
  • Makor Jewish Library, Australia
  • University of Denver
  • Ohio State University
  • Library of Congress

Press and Links

Nadia's Friends ***
Filmmaker Chanoch Zeevi's grandparents were part of the founding generation of Kfar Haroeh, an educational experiment of the religious Zionist movement that aimed to create "the ultimate future generation" by bringing together children from different cultural and religious backgrounds to form a homogenous model of a Zionist Jew in Jerusalem. Now, at age 40, Zeevi sets out to track down his schoolmates from the class of 1980, discovering along the way that the school's celebrated "melting pot" has failed, as most of his classmates no longer embrace the school's founding principles. Zeevi interviews his former principal, an admired leader who cautiously suggests that a more radical Israel has led to a fundamental disregard for the basic humanistic and cultural precepts advanced at Kfar Haroeh. Narrated by Zeevi, the heart of Nadia's Friends lies in discussions and interviews with former classmates-in particular Nadia, the only Arab member of the school. As an Arab Muslim, Nadia represents the lost ideal of the "melting pot" and sense of tolerance, both of which have been pushed aside by political and religious extremism. As the interviewees reflect upon a specific time and place where there existed little sense of separateness between Arab or Jew, religious or non-religious, right-wing or left-wing, Zeevi hopes that Israel will one day learn to fully embrace diversity.
Reviewed by the Video Librarian, April, 2007

Web Links:
Nadia’s Friends offers little in the way of answers or resolutions to the issue of conflict within Israeli society, but it does present an attempt at dialogue between the competing voices of the Israeli public. In the process, the film raises interesting and important questions about the state of the Jews in the Jewish State, and we learn, together with Zeevi, that these questions don’t always have pat, easy answers. For the entire article please check:

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