Since horrific headlines are often all that is seen in the English language media about the LGBT civil rights movement in Israel, on June 8, the JCC in Manhattan will offer a valuable corrective. The 2009 Israeli documentary “Gay Days,” directed by Yair Qedar, will be presented by two festivals — The JCC’s 6th Annual Faigele Film Festival and NewFest: The New York LGBT Film Festival.
Qedar’s film interviews some noted arts figures, such as director Eytan Fox, but inevitably must cover a lot of agitated social history, organized protests, and dismaying violence. Some gender specialists are also on hand, like Amalia Ziv, an Assistant Professor at Ben-Gurion University who has published a scholarly analysis, “Diva Interventions: Dana International and Israeli Gender Culture” in the incisive collection of articles, “Queer Popular Culture: Literature, Media, Film and Television” from Palgrave Macmillan.
Indeed, Dana International, a transsexual Israeli superstar singer born Yaron Cohen to a Yemenite Jewish family, would seem to call for a documentary herself, to explain her lasting success in a country supposedly dominated by Mediterranean machismo and homophobia.