wwzYou’re probably wondering what World War Z has to do with Jewish Issues. Well it has a long sequence set in Israel. A lot has been written on line recently about the political statements that certain people think the producers of the movie were making when they filmed those scenes. I’ll say my peace on that, but first here’s a quick explanation about why the movie is bad.

You know how annoying it is when you see a bad movie based on a book and the people who read the book only liked the movie because of it and say “you have to read the book.” (It’s annoying because a movie has to stand on its own without people needing to read a book first.) Well I can safely say that this is not such a case. I read World War Z and no one who did and liked it could like this movie.

Now here’s a list of the movie’s stupidities without giving too much of the plot away.

1) The people who are bitten by a Zombie turn into one within ten seconds. If that’s the case then how did the virus, or whatever it is, spread all over the world so quickly? Diseases spread when there is a gap between being infected and being symptomatic. It should have taken bitten people a long time to die and change. So how did it get all the way to America from the other side of the world with no warning?

2) There is a scene where a scientist gets infected while studying a blood culture of the disease. Now anyone who has seen movies like Outbreak knows that people who do this keep the cultures in a sealed room and wear special Haz-Mat suits so as to avoid infection. But this guy did neither and got infected when he accidentally broke the glass container and cut himself.

3) There is a scene set in Korea where Brad Pitt went to get answers, but he doesn’t really learn much of anything there. Plus there’s a guy who once worked for the CIA who is being held prisoner there for some reason.

4) Brad Pitt and a woman somehow survive a terrible plane crash just because they were wearing their seat belts. What?

There’s a lot more, but I promised to talk about what this has to do with Israel. So here is why the scenes in Israel are so awfully done.

1) They filmed the Israel scenes in Malta which does not look at all like Israel. Whatever place they chose to use for aerial shots to be the Old City of Jerusalem does not look like it at all. Why didn’t they just splice in stock footage of the Old City for the aerial shots?

2) Atarot airport is small and cannot service large airliners let alone many of them. Yet for some reason they have Brad Pitt land there instead of at Ben-Gurion airport. They also show the small airport’s runway filled with jet liners.

3) The wall that Israel built to protect itself from the Zombies goes down the middle of Jerusalem. For some reason no one is manning the top of the wall to check for zombies trying to get across. They are letting people into the Israeli side through a gate as Zombies approach the wall. Then all the noise attracts the zombies who manage to jump over the wall and start biting people. For some reason Brad Pitt was the only one to notice the danger.

4) On that point, why would the government of Israel not have simply evacuated the city since it is so close to this wall that they built?

5) Did the makers of the movie think that Israel’s only border is in Jerusalem? What about all the other places along the border? Couldn’t zombies have gotten through in one of those places too?

I can’t say more on these scenes without giving too much away. I also won’t explain how much better the situation in Israel was described in the book because, as I said, the movie has to stand on its own.

Now here’s what people are saying on line. They are asking what message about the Mid East conflict the producers were sending with the parts of the movie that take place in Jerusalem and then they are answering it. They are debating the issue of the “peace process” through the prism of these scenes. I can tell you what the makers of the movie were trying to say about the conflict when they filmed these scenes without ever having spoken to any of them about it: Nothing! It’s a zombie movie for crying out loud! Who the hell are these people who try to find social and/or political messages in such a movie?

The book has a section on what happened in Israel during the zombie apocalypse. So any such questions should be directed toward the author, Max Brooks. Even so, having read the book, I don’t think that the half Jewish son of Mel Brooks was making any political statements in a book about zombies. Not in the parts about Israel, Germany, China, India, Cuba, America, Iceland or anywhere else.

This movie should do well in Arab countries, though. There’s an extended sequence where many Israeli soldiers are eaten by zombies. Arabs will certainly get a kick out of that.

About the author


Gil Tanenbaum made aliyah from New York after he completed college. He Has lived in Israel for over 20 years. He has an MBA from Bar Ilan University and is a contributor for various blogs.

1 Comment

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    Well, Atarot airport is an international airport designated to service medium-large airliners. The airport has parking spots that suit B767, an ILS system and a runway about 2000 meters long (6447 feet long).

    If one is going to Jerusalem, it would make sense to use the Jerusalem airport, situated less than 10km (6 miles) from the old city of Jerusalem, while Ben Gurion international airport is located some 51km (31 miles) away.

    Yes, Atarot airport has been temporarily closed since 2001, but not abandoned. It is still manned 24/7 by security and staff personnel. We don’t know exactly when the film is set, but if it is before 2001 or in the future when Atarot reopens – I see no problem.