Adventure in Israel (film #1 in the General section of the State of Israel section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This 50s film, narrated by George Jessel and his 11-year-old daughter Geralyn, documents their trip to Israel and appeals to viewers to contribute to the United Jewish Appeal to help with resettlement of refugees. It’s done in the lighthearted and rather silly style of a Hollywood travelogue short, but the scenes of refugees in transit camps, and building homes in pioneer settlements, are genuinely touching, giving the film a note of reality that you don’t expect given its style. Jessel’s assertion that all that is really needed to solve the refugees’ problems is more money is poignant from today’s perspective, considering the ongoing violence the people of Israel have had to put up with. An interesting historical artifact from the post-war period.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

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