POST: 'Diaspora' - five students on a birthright trip
What it's about.
Diaspora tells a story of five students who go on a birthright trip and learn about the history of Masada while also expressing their own values and expectations from the trip.
As I was researching shows to see, I read a brief description of Diaspora, and it interested me because I wasn’t too familiar with the story of Masada, and as an Israeli I feel like I should be more informed on the history of my country.
The show started with an introduction to all the characters. All of the teenagers were stereotypical - caring more about their selfies than learning about the history of Israel. They went on this birthright trip as an excuse to go and have sex. The introduction of the two IDF soldiers was different, though. They were seen as strong and knowledgeable, staying quiet and on guard; saying that this is the land that they were fighting for. Being Israeli, I have a lot of friends and family members who either were or are still part of the IDF, and for each of them it is such an honor to be part of the protection of their homeland. People who even live in the United States go back to Israel just to enroll in the army, it's a very prideful feeling.
So throughout the beginning of the show, that is what the soldiers represented - and that was what I expected - proud fighters for the country that they love. But towards the end of the show, that picture of the soldiers was shattered. The two soldiers said that the Jewish people in Israel will always be settlers since this wasn’t their land to begin with.
What? How can a soldier who is risking his life day in and day out not feel like he is fighting for his home? If so, why fight at all?
Is Israel not an important landmark for the Jewish people? Was that what the teens on birthright needed to know?
The play would shift from present day to 73 CE, and that was clearly indicated, so the present day stories that were being told were humorous and represented what the kids on the trip really wanted. The "important" things.
One of the characters, Hannah, said since this trip requires them to wake up so early and they have to hike all day, it never gives her any time to make a move on Jeremy, which was the whole point of birthright according to her. Obviously. So in the Holocaust museum, Hannah said, “I dunno, I just felt like that would have been the best place to hook up with Jeremy. Especially since his grandparents died in the war. It would be like... like commemorating them by having two Jews be together against the odds of the war.” So... sex in a Holocaust museum...
It seemed funny at first, but then it made me wonder...
When the play shifted back to 73 CE and the story of Masada was explained - I thought that this history was the point of the show, to educate on what actually happened - unfortunately, I didn't come away understand anything about the history that was being told. Since I came to the show with no prior knowledge on the history of Masada, all I got was that people escaped, then for some reason committed suicide. I didn’t really understand what was being told, or whether or not this story was shameful for the Jewish nation.
I thought about the show as a whole for a while, and it left me wondering if the message was that birthright is a joke and that the history within Israel isn’t something to take pride in. I didn't like feeling this way, especially since what I know is that Israelis take pride in their homeland even when they don't live there. Every Israeli I know, including myself, knows how to defend their right to calling Israel home. This show gave me the feeling that the Jews just took over a land that clearly wasn't theirs - and I don't agree with that.
In most cases I enjoy watching a show that makes me think and question what was happening, but this show made me question what they were even saying.
Tell us about your experience.
In the comments below.