Life in Hebron: A Heartbreaking Portrait


Filmmaker and activist, Yuval Orr, has created a nine minute documentary giving an in-depth view of life in Hebron, a Palestinian city located in the southern West Bank. The film follows a 15-year-old boy, Awni Abu Shamsiya, as he struggles with everyday life in this volatile region.

Hebron is the only Palestinian city with an Israeli settlement within it. Conflicts between Palestinian civilians, Israeli soldiers and Jewish-Israeli settlers happen on a daily basis. There is a long history of violence here, including some of the worst civilian-led massacres committed by both sides since the beginning of the Jewish-Arab conflict.

In a recent report, Israeli soldiers carried out a predawn arrest campaign; arresting eight Palestinians from towns and cities across the West Bank. This included Hebron, where 23-year-old student, Abed Arraouf Ghnimat, was arrested from the town of Surif. While it was reported that an instructor at An-Najah National University and an editor for the online news website, Huna al-quds, were among those arrested, it would seem many of them were youths.

Orr’s film gives a heartbreaking view into the life of one youth in this area. Although only nine minutes long, the film clearly shows the reality of life in Hebron through the eyes of a teenage Palestinian in a way that leaves the viewer open to come to their own conclusions.


M.H. WAFA, Palestinian News & Info Agency. Jan 21, 2015. (

Rothman-Zecher, Moriel. +972 Magazine. Dec 16, 2014. (


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  1. The water the child washed his face with, the electricity that powers the lights and computer in his home, the internet he surfs facebook with–ALL of these utilities come from Israel, the 1st world country nestled in the 3rd world. Having toured this area, the settlements appeared to be gated communities of Jews desiring privacy and lower real estate costs. Approximately 90% of the construction jobs for these settlements go to local Palestinians (who don’t seem to have many other options for earning a living). While the conduct of the IDF soldiers in this video can certainly be called into question, is that not true of law enforcement just about anywhere else in the world? American police murder unarmed citizens in the street and I’m supposed to be heartbroken by a few IDF bullies? The bottom line is, Israel allows for Jews to protect themselves with an organized military for the first time in 4,000 years. A faithful man would say the Holocaust occurred because that was necessary to produce the modern Jewish state. Another perspective is that the Holocaust occurred because there was no Israel. The current borders which extend to Jordan’s eastern border were created as a result of the 1967 war in which 4 Arabic neighbors attempted to destroy Israel. The resulting borders (which Israel claimed after winning this war) are necessary to maintain a defensible state. This conflict is not about settlements, police brutality, economics, etc–it is about religion. All Jews want is a country of their own where they can defend themselves–Israel is the only true, safe refuge for the world’s Jews, a people that has not felt safe for millennia. Jews cannot count on the USA and Europe for their protection, only each other in a tiny country among Muslim juggernauts.


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