Award-Winning Israeli Film Director Assaulted In France

Yariv Horowitz, the director of the award-winning Israeli movie Rock the Casbah, was reportedly attacked and beaten after the screening of his film at the 2013 Aubagne International Film Festival in southern France.

The perpetrators of the attack were reported to be a group of Arab youths. Horowitz was apparently knocked consciousness in the assault, received treatment, but returned to the festival in time to receive the prize for Best Picture. As yet, no arrests have been made in the attack on Yariv Horowitz which would seem to be a hate crime.

Rock the Casbah also won the prestigious International Confederation of Art Cinemas award at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival.

The film, which appears to take an evenhanded approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, follows four young Israeli Defense Forces soldiers who are deployed to Gaza during the 1989 Intifada. The film festival website summarizes the plot as follows: “A troupe of Israeli soldiers were patrolling a section of the Gaza when one of the soldiers faced a tragic death from a washing machine thrown from atop a building. Four soldiers are assigned the task of finding the assailant. They are confined to the roof of the scene of the crime. This is the story of how a relationship unfolds between the local residents and their occupants.”

The film is is based on Horowitz’s own experiences in the army as a videographer embedded with IDF troops in the West Bank:

“I started filming those soldiers, asking them about funny incidents from their day-to-day lives, and instead of telling me about life in their brigade they started using my camera to give themselves psychological therapy.”

Horowitz previously noted that the opus was made partially in response to his own upbringing:

“I grew up in a very left-wing family. I remember that when I would come home from the territories as a soldier, my mother would say that the soldiers were animals. And I said,’ One day I’ll show you how it really was.’ “

Military service is mandatory in the state of Israel.

Watch the official trailer for Rock the Casbah: