As part of a series of cultural events to honor Israel’s 60th anniversary, German Minister of State Hildegard Muller announced Monday that the famed documentary series ‘Pillar of Fire’ will be broadcast live on German TV.
Muller, who is in charge of organizing Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations in Germany, met Monday with Minister Ruhama Avraham-Balila, chairman of the Ministerial Committee for the Events Marking the 60th Anniversary of the State of Israel, and with Haimon Goldberg, chairman of the 60th Anniversary Events Directorate.
The German minister noted that her country will host a wide array of events to mark Israel’s 60th Independence Day, including an Israeli film festival, an Israeli book exhibit as part of the Leipzig Germany book fair, and a performance by Israeli Dance Company Batsheva. Germany has invested over Euro 1.5 million in launching these various events.
“Pillar of Fire” is a 19-episode documentary television series, first broadcast in 1981, relaying the history of the Jewish people and the events leading up to the establishment of the State of Israel. The acclaimed series took five years to produce, and necessitated Ministry of Finance funding in order to be completed. It includes rare archive footage as well as interviews with hundreds of individuals integral to Israel’s past.
The series, though highly regarded by many, was also criticized for being far too complimentary towards the Zionist endeavor, as well as for utterly ignoring the part played by Sephardic Jews in Israel’s history.
Years after “Pillar of Fire” was released and broadcast on Israeli TV channel 1, a follow-up series, titled "Tekuma" or "Revival", was also produced. This new series recounted the important events in Israel’s history from its founding to the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
“Pillar of Fire” was re-run on various TV stations over the years, and also has an English version, narrated by Sir Ian McKellen of “Lord of the Rings” fame.
German television will broadcast “Pillar of Fire” on the 14 of May, six days after 60th Independence Day celebrations in Israel.