A new Einstein documentary entitled Einstein in the Holy Land is set for production based on the scientist’s trip to pre-state Israel in 1923. The film will be produced by Micha Shagrir and directed by Noa Ben Hagai.
Einstein made the journey by train with his second wife, Elsa. He kept a travel diary during this time which ended up being sold in order to fund the Einstein estate after he died in 1955. According to Haaretz, the former archive director Dr. Ze’ev Rosenkranz translated the diary and wrote his doctorate about it. Einstein’s diary ultimately ended up at the University of Jerusalem until it was recently discovered and published.
Einstein’s 12-day trip to Palestine was met with great fanfare. During a stop in Tel Aviv, Einstein was granted honorary citizenship by Mayor Dizengoff. He planted two trees at the Technion and saw many of the tourist sights like Jericho and the Dead Sea.
According to The Times of Israel, the highlight of the trip for Einstein was giving the inaugural lecture at the Hebrew University atop Mount Scopus. For years Einstein had helped raise money to establish the first Jewish university and to popularize the Zionism of his day.
“On the whole, the country is not very fertile,” Einstein wrote.
“It will become a moral center, but will not be able to take in a large proportion of the Jewish people. I am convinced, however, that the colonization will succeed.”
Recently, one of the few remaining mementos from Einstein’s 1923 trip – a postcard – sold at auction for $56,250 to an anonymous bidder. Einstein sent it to Zionist leader Authur Ruppin, and even sketched in the upper-left corner a self-portrait of himself and one of his fellow traveling companions, Ruppin’s wife.
Director Hagai’s previous film, Blood Relation, documented the mystery surrounding the disappearance of her grandmother’s sister after the Six Day War. She was found living in a refugee camp in Nabulus where she lived with her adopted Palestinian family. The Einstein project was less stressful for Hagai’s relatives when they first learned of it.
“My family sighed with relief that finally I wasn’t making a movie about them,” she said.
“This [Einstein in the Holy Land] was purely documentary work, and it was enjoyable.”
The Inquisitr reported earlier on several of Einstein’s extramarital affairs. Although there is no evidence of a romantic fling during Einstein’s travels in the Holy Land, Einstein did apparently comment on the beauty of several of the Jewish women he encountered, even going as far as flirting openly in his wife’s presence.