This research examines depictions of Israeli characters in Hollywood films over a span of 60 years starting with Israel’s early years of statehood until present day. The films selected for this research are Exodus (1960) for early statehood and Munich (2005) and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) for present day depictions. People have always been fascinated by Hollywood films since the inception of filmmaking. Movie-going audiences have flocked to movie theaters to watch the latest productions and see their stars in action. Therefore, it is important to understand what these characters represent and the messages they communicate to the audience. This research applies discourse analysis as its methodology, and framing and film theory as its theoretical framework. The research shows that the three main Israeli characters in these three Hollywood films are depicted as being consistent with American society values and ideologies.
If Exodus did not directly address these policy dilemmas of the Cold War, its narrative of Zionism as anticolonialism worked its magic on a global horizon where Americans worried about who would control the meaning of national revolutions. On a popular level, Exodus offered a symbolic resolution of the American ambivalence toward decolonization. Israel was located geographically among the Afro-Asian nations, but its recognizably Western qualities made it stand apart. At the same time Exodus was entertaining theater crowds, the American press was heralding Israel’s foreign policy aid as a nonimperial model for the modern development of Africa. Reports abounded about Africans studying in Israeli universities and kibbutzim and Israeli technicians “going out to assist the newlyindependent Africans, who find in Israel a welcome alternative to the traditional powers of East and West” (Schmidt). Articles with titles such as “Democracy’s Classroom for Africans” and a “Pilot Plant for Progress” (Seigel) portrayed Israel as an exemplary decolonized nation, and as “the strongest link between the white nations and the chaotic African situation” (Meyer E7). These stories placed Israel, like America, as a tutorial force for orderly modern development, inside the white Western world but opposed to European colonialism.