The Law and Prophets

The Law and the Prophets (2023)

Saturday, October 28, 2023 at 3:00 pm. EDT, 1900 UTC

Online only. Following the festival’s program, the filmmaker decided to make this movie freely available on YouTube.

Writer/director: Joshua Vis

Run Time: 1:54

Language: English

Style: documentary

Year: 2023

Projection medium: DCP

Tickets: free with registration

About The Film

In Israel, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, the law is whatever Israel deems to be in the best interest of Jewish Israelis and to the detriment of Palestinians. Israel violates the civil and human rights of Palestinians as a matter of standard, accepted policy. However, there are brave, determined individuals who are trying to expose the destructive, unjust, and sometimes invisible ways in which Israel exploits and oppresses Palestinians.

The Law and the Prophets explains the mechanisms of control that Israel deploys to subjugate Palestinians including these, which highlight our 2023 theme, “the 75th Year of the Nakba”:

  • Descriptions of various individual permit systems and the intentional delays in obtaining them. Palestinian-American Sam Bahour consulted on telecommunications and needed residency permits. After he married a West Bank Palestinian, his status changed such that his U.S. passport was no longer sufficient to travel inside Israel
  • Yahav Zohar’s description of house demolitions
  • How the Israeli government attempts to defuse Nazareth as natural tourist attraction because it’s majority is Palestinian

These mechanisms have been perfected through decades of civil and military rule of Palestinians both within Israel, and in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This film is told through the lens of eight brave people from different walks of life and backgrounds but with the same passion for seeking peace and justice for Palestinians. The Law and the Prophets amplifies the voices of these smart and courageous women and men, many of whom toil in tragic obscurity.

“This is the best film on the Israeli occupation of Palestine that I’ve ever seen.”

– Matthew van Maastricht, author and professor at New Brunswick Theological Seminary
Director Joshua Vis

By video conference

Co-director Joshua Vis

Joshua Vis became interested in Israel / Palestine through his faith in the Reformed Church in American and his study in Jerusalem starting in 2001 of modern Hebrew. He earned a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

He said, “I was twenty-five years old, and I knew almost nothing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… My support for modern Israel was nominally linked to my admiration for Judaism and to my understanding of Christianity’s strong link to Judaism.”

Through his parents’ later experience living in East Jerusalem, his impressions began to change. “Over time, they came to understand that the Israeli occupation was a great injustice. My father blogged religiously for a few years. His work was poignant, haunting,” Josh said.

In the summer of 2016 Josh followed in his parents’ footsteps leading holyland tours for Americans. He included a day-long experience on the detention of Palestinian children in the Israeli military courts. Israel was arresting Palestinian children, often in the middle of the night, and through physical, emotional, and psychological pressure, forcing them to admit to crimes, mainly throwing stones. “This was my introduction to one of the mechanisms of control devised by the Israeli military,” Josh said.

He continues, “My education continued in this way for about three years as I added more and more speakers and experiences that uncovered the hidden machinations of the Israeli government. I slowly found more and more Israelis and Palestinians who could tell (and/or show) my groups about the systemic oppression that Israel had devised to keep Palestinians marginalized and pacified.”

The Law and the Prophets amplifies the voices of these smart and courageous women and men, many of whom toil in tragic obscurity. “In doing so, I hope that more people will come to see the grave injustice of the Israeli occupation and demand an end to the oppression of Palestinians,” Josh said.