With missiles flying into the Gaza border town of Sderot over the last few days, hundreds of young children came from surrounding towns as well as the big cities in central Israel to have fun and play games at the local Cinematheque.
“I am astonished,” said the Benny Cohen, CEO of Cinematheque and event organizer, at the numbers of children who came down south into the line of fire in order to have a day of fun together with the children of Sderot. “The children from our town Sderot are used to the dangers we face daily,” he told Army Radio. “To see hundreds of kids with their families coming from all around the country in support of our little border town is wonderful. What an encouragement to us,” he said as his voice cracked with emotion.
Entitled “The Magic of Movies,” the children are enjoying five days of activities creating, acting, learning and watching everything about the world of cinema they so love. Activities include workshops on making and directing movies, understanding how special effects work, and of course watching some of their favorite movies and meeting some of the stars.
On a more sobering note, teenagers over the age of 13 are invited to watch a popular Israeli documentary called “Transkids” during the event. The film follows four families over four years whose children went through gender reassignment surgery. After the screening, young people will meet with the four teens who changed their gender to ask questions and discuss the issue.
Some of our readers may be concerned or even shocked to learn that this topic would be included in a public event for youth from across the country. Others might ask what this subject has to do with giving young people some reprieve from the anxiety and dangers of terror attacks that haunt them daily.
Perhaps the ability of the State of Israel to achieve some degree of normalcy while struggling for its very existence has offered the nation space not only to have fun, but to look at these difficult issues that have become a part of our society, and western society around the world, whether we like it or not. (See “Israel’s Heroic Normalcy”)
In today’s Israel, the issues of homosexuality and gender identity are discussed openly and regularly in the media, on television and in the classrooms. Israeli children from a young age are all too quickly introduced to the modern world and its liberal, progressive views on sexuality. Perhaps sometimes it is better to talk about it than keep it in the closet.