Art and History

Art and History

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.


Sometimes we need art to distract us from the real world or make one try to gain a bigger picture of who we are and/or might be.  Israel, and especially its leaders, has been and no doubt will continue to be critiqued severely in this blog when it deserves to be, but seeing the new film  documentary Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story makes one take a deep breath and look at what a remarkable people Israelis are. The character and extraordinary fiber of Yoni Netanyahu which comes through his letters and the interviewees’ descriptions, makes a person truly proud of one of the remarkable heroes of a very young country. Listening and hearing so many people involved in the 1976 Israeli raid and rescue in Entebbe, many of whom are very much alive and active today, is eerie and awesome. Leaving aside any self-serving comments that might appear or any emotional and personalization of the history, the documentary presents to today’s world a picture of the people and country, in a different time.

The documentary is schmaltzy in parts and pitched too much to Hollywood in its style, but the narrative of the State of Israel comes through even to the most harden of cynics. It also raises desperately painful questions about whether today’s leaders in Israel are as capable to “follow” as were the decision-makers and the rank and file 36 years ago.

Israel today with all her problems and her warts is troubling and painful. Her leaders and politics today make one angry and take pause, but they also give hope to the optimists who believe that it has not come this far in 64 years to lose it all because they failed to learn from history.


This is the 100th posting since Kahntentions began just five months ago. Its form is still evolving but, as you are still reading it and agreeing, getting angry, or deleting it, we are pleased. We promise not to bother marking any more historical moments, but we hope you will continue to stay tuned as we watch time march on.

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