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.
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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.
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The head of the Mossad, the 10th man investigating the zombie threat, managed to seal off the whole country just in the nick of time. Israel is compassionately admitting all non-zombie humans, but this proves less than strategically sound. As the crowd swells, Palestinians, secular Israelis and ultra-Orthodox Jews join together to sing a song of peace, attracting the attention of the outside zombie hoard, which (taking aliyah a little too literally) overruns the wall and destroys Jerusalem.

Most commentators have read this sequence as singing the praise of the Jewish people for their brilliant foresight and blaming the bungling peaceniks for letting down their guard. But this is only a small part of the film’s endorsement of a merciless, paranoid approach to danger.

The only way to survive is through brutal amputation: When an Israeli soldier is bitten, Lane saves her by unhesitatingly slicing off her hand; when a plane full of civilians is being taken over by zombies, Lane hurls a grenade and the explosion kills virtually everyone, tossing zombie and non-zombie alike out 10,000 feet above ground. In the film’s climax we learn how to defeat the undead: Lane infects himself with typhoid, rendering him uninteresting to the zombies looking for healthy prey.

Time and again it is those like Lane, the North Koreans and, at first, the Israelis who can overlook suffering now for survival until tomorrow — who can abandon blind hope and unblinkingly swallow the bitter pill of near total self-interest.

The critique of hope goes even deeper than that. The scene in Jerusalem is eerily reminiscent of an episode in the Book of Revelation in which 144,000 Jews are singled out to survive the Apocalypse; gathering on Mount Zion with “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language,” these chosen few sing “a new song before the throne [of God].” (New International Version, Book of Revelation 7:3–9, 14:1–3).


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