‘Land of the Little People’ is a work in progress project about four young kids who live in a village of professional soldiers. Not so far away, in the wild fields that surround the village, there is an old abandoned army base. The kids build their stronghold in one of the only standing structures in the camp – a stone shed with an ancient dry well inside. When a war breaks out the fathers go to war and the mothers sit in front of the television and listen to the never-ending news reports. The kids, with no one to supervise them, go back to their camp. To their amazement, they find two soldiers, who deserted their units, hiding in the secret shed. The kids decide to do whatever they can in order to make the soldiers go away. In their struggle, they use all means necessary known to them.
You are welcome to visit the project web-site and blog at: http://www.landofthelittlepeople.com
We were called on Friday evening. We left everything – our work, families and daily duties – and went to serve our country. That’s how we live our lives here in Israel, and it has nothing to do with our political believes. Though I can’t say I was eager to fight, I was ready to follow my friends into battle. By Saturday morning Alpha Company was ready to march. This time luck was on our side, and by the end of a very long week, a cease-fire was declared and Operation Amud Anan AKA Pillar of Defence came to an end. I can’t go into specifics about what we did that week, but I did took some photos and video footage so I could later spread the taste of oil and sand. Since it was such a weird experience we’ve decided to make a clip with Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine man as soundtrack. When I’ve uploaded it to YouTube it was immediately blocked due to copyright reasons. I found even more trippy version of the song made by William Shatner, and I think it took it further more into a delirium. Shifting from being a normal citizen and a soldier is such a strange transformation that I think this short clip captured a little of what that could do to your conception of reality. The contrast between an armed soldier and a free minded individual is huge, but that’s exactly what beautiful and unique in being a reserve soldier in the IDF.
If you liked that, take a ride with Alpha Company and watch the documentary “The Alpha Diaries“.
On April 2002 I started my photographic journey with Alpha company. The holiday just began and we all had our plans for the free days to come. But after a shocking terrorist attack on Passover eve, the government issued a special order to recruit the reserve units and send them into the Palestinians towns. The military operation was called “Defensive Shield”. My regiment was sent into Bethlehem, where we fought for three weeks. When I had my first chance to take the camera with me I started filming our actions, and I kept doing it for 5 years.
In 2007 I took all the stock of footage and made it into a documentary called “The Alpha Diaries”. This documentary was shown on television channels all over the world, and participated in many film festivals. Now I made a new HD copy of the movie and placed it on YouTube for everybody to watch and to experience how it is to leave everything and become a soldier for one month, every year.
Producer: Avi Kleinberger
Director: Yaniv Berman
Editor: Ronit Porat, Gabi Shihor
On-Line: Serg Bezrukoff
Music: Gad Emile Zeitune
Camera: Yaniv Berman
Stills and more video footage: Omri Takoa
Sound Design: Michael Goorevich
Lifta was populated since ancient times; Nephtoah is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as a border between the Israelite tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Romans and Byzantines called it Nephtho, and the Crusaders referred to it as Clepsta.
In the late nineteenth century, Lifta was described as situated on the side of a steep hill, with a spring and rock-cut tombs to the south.In mid-1940, Lifta was predominantly Muslim, with a population of 2,550. The farmers of Lifta marketed their produce in Jerusalem markets and took advantage of the city’s services.
In the 1948 war Arabs fled from villages at the entrance to Jerusalem, among them Lifta. Most of the inhabitants fled, but the village remained largely intact. Some 55 original stone houses are still standing but the village has never been repopulated.
In 2011, plans were announced to demolish the village and build a luxury development consisting of 212 luxury housing units and a hotel. Former residents brought a legal petition to preserve the village as an historic site.
(All photos here are taken with Pentax Spotmatic F)