Shalom Life | April 24, 2014

Woody Allen: Another Jew Who Loves Israel but Refuses to Visit it

Why the world's most famous Jewish director won't visit Israel

By: Jordan Shani

Published: July 12th, 2012 in Culture » Film » Interviews

Woody Allen: Another Jew Who Loves Israel but Refuses to Visit it

There’s little doubt that screenwriter/playwright/author/actor/director, and occasional Jazz musician Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg), is one of the most recognizable Jews on earth. Allen, who’s been entertaining audiences for half a century, personifies all that we love – and hate – about ourselves, including a rapier wit and a closetful of anxieties and insecurities. , And, although this Member of the Tribe admits to loving Israel, or the idea of Israel, he's never been there.

And unfortunately, Allen’s apparent lack of interest in visiting the land of his ancestors is not unique. We’ve all read of American Jews who talk the talk when it comes to Israel, saying all the right stuff about the tiny country excelling despite being surrounded by its enemies, but refuse – for whatever reason – to walk the walk.

So, why does the man behind To Rome With Love, continue to embrace such foreign climes as Paris, London and Rome, filming there, bolstering the respective economies, and shining some positive PR on them, but treat Israel like a scorned lover? Perhaps we can gleam the reasons from this excerpt of an interview Allen recently gave to Yediot Ahronot.

“I support Israel and I’ve supported it since the day it was founded,” said Allen in this translated from Hebrew interview. “Israel’s neighbors have treated it badly, cruelly, instead of embracing it and making it part of the Middle East family of nations. Over the years, Israel has responded to these attacks in various ways, some of which I approved of and some less so. I understand that Israelis have been through hard times, I don’t expect Israel to react perfectly every time and that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a wonderful, marvelous country. I’m just worried about the rise of fundamentalism in Israel, which I think damages its interests. I also have questions about your leadership, which doesn’t always act in Israel’s best interests. But even my criticism of Israel comes from a place of love, just like when I criticize the United States. It would be a mistake not to say something if you think a country you love makes a mistake and could hurt itself.”

Then why have you never visited Israel?

“I’m not a tourist. I travel regularly to three cities that I know and love — Paris, London and Rome — and that’s it. I don’t like to leave home because I’m a bit neurotic, and when I do leave home, it’s mostly for work. I don’t like flying and I don’t consider myself a curious person who wants to see new places. There are many states in the United States that I’ve never visited. My wife is of Korean origin and she’s been trying for years to convince me to go to South Korea with her — so far, unsuccessfully. She’s also very curious about Israel and wants to go there with the girls, so they can see and understand their father’s Jewish culture. I assume we’ll go and visit Israel soon. There’s no way around it.”

If Allen can find time to regularly travel to Paris, London and Rome, I'm sure the three hour hop over to Tel Aviv wouldn't be the biggest of inconveniences. Or, if work needs to be involved, he can always film his next travel-guide/movie in the place he calls a "wonderful, marvellous country."

Mural, Mural on the Wall Brings Animations to Life for Your Children Mural, Mural on the Wall Brings Animations to Life for Your Children TrendingKaty Perry Impersonates Unfunny Rabbi in ‘Birthday’ Music Video [VIDEO] Katy Perry Impersonates Unfunny Rabbi in ‘Birthday’ Music Video [VIDEO] TrendingDrake to Join Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar at iHeart Radio Music Awards Drake to Join Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar at iHeart Radio Music Awards Trending
 

Jewish Hall of Fame: Émile Durkheim

April 23, 2014 | By Zak Edwards
Jewish Hall of Fame: Émile Durkheim

The French sociologist, social psychologist and philosopher is considered to be one of the founding fathers of social science

Read More

Anton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel Slated for ‘The Driftless Area’

April 23, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Anton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel Slated for ‘The Driftless Area’

The film will also star John Hawkes, Ciaran Hinds, and Alia Shawkat.

Read More

Sarah Silverman Apologizes in Advance For Swastika Doodle

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Sarah Silverman Apologizes in Advance For Swastika Doodle

The controversial comedian posted a doodle she drew of a swastika to her Twitter feed.

Read More

Andy Samberg to Return to ‘SNL’ as Host

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Andy Samberg to Return to ‘SNL’ as Host

The 'Saturday Night Live' alum will be hosting on May 17th.

Read More

Drake Lint Rolls His Pants During Raptors Playoff Game [VIDEO]

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Drake Lint Rolls His Pants During Raptors Playoff Game [VIDEO]

The Raptors global brand ambassador wanted to ensure he looked his best while his team beat the Brooklyn Nets

Read More

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman Welcome Baby Frankie

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman Welcome Baby Frankie

The actress announced the birth of another happy baby girl on Tuesday.

Read More

Mel Brooks to Star in Autobiographical One-Man Show

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Mel Brooks to Star in Autobiographical One-Man Show

The 87-year old actor/director is planning a solo show in Los Angeles for one-night only.

Read More

Travel Back in Time with Google Street View

April 23, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Travel Back in Time with Google Street View

Google's latest feature allows you to scroll through past Street view photos, whether in New York, Toronto, or Singapore

Read More

More Headlines