Deconstructing The 'Most Pro-Israel' Zombie Movie Ever Made

In 'World War Z,' Israelis Have Strategy for Dealing With Invaders

Only the Strong Survive: In ‘World War Z,’ starring Brad Pitt, Israelis protect themselves from the zombie invasion by creating a massive security wall.
Getty Images
Only the Strong Survive: In ‘World War Z,’ starring Brad Pitt, Israelis protect themselves from the zombie invasion by creating a massive security wall.

By Doni Bloomfield

Published July 11, 2013, issue of July 19, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

If you were to judge only by what’s been said in the media firestorm it’s left in its wake, you might assume that the new Brad Pitt zombie extravaganza, “World War Z,” is so pro-Israel that by the time the credits roll, the audience members will be singing “Hatikva” just to inoculate themselves against the undead. The Times of Israel declared “World War Z” “the greatest piece of cinematic propaganda for Israel since Otto Preminger’s ‘Exodus.’” Al-Jazeera quoted several critics of Israel lambasting the film for defending “Israel’s apartheid wall.”

Jeffrey Goldberg, a columnist for Bloomberg View, hailed “World War Z” as “the most pro-Israel movie ever made” (though he added, “Or at the very least the most pro-Israel zombie movie”), and left-wing blogger Jesse Benjamin derided it as “zombie hasbara” (literally “explaining,” a Hebrew euphemism for propaganda). Paramount Pictures, the main studio backer of “World War Z,” was sufficiently worried that in the Turkish version, the subtitles reading “Israel” were replaced with “the Middle East.”

But the truth is, the producers of “World War Z” are not shills for Israel. While the movie does use Israel as an important symbol, it’s simply one of the more conspicuous pieces in a larger argument: to survive in this world requires a willingness to dispense with humanitarian niceties and take some ugly actions. (Spoiler alert!)

The movie begins with the simultaneous collapse of cities across the globe as the zombie infestation spreads and our hero, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt doing his best Bruce Willis impression), seeks safety for his family. Soon Lane, recently retired from the United Nations, is whisked off to learn that only two countries, North Korea and Israel, have so far survived the zombie onslaught: the Koreans by knocking out every citizen’s teeth, and the Israelis by constructing a massive security wall around Jerusalem (sound familiar?).

Once he is in the Holy Land, Lane learns that Israel’s survival is due to the Mossad’s policy of the “10th Man”: For every potential threat, one out of 10 men in the agency assigned to the case needs to take it seriously, no matter how far-fetched it may seem.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.