Synopsis for Bridge Over the Wadi
For the first time in Israel, a group of Arab and Jewish parents decide to establish a conjoint bi-national, bi-lingual school inside an Arab village.
The film follows the school's first year and portrays through the personal stories of its characters, how complicated and fragile is the attempt to create an environment of co-existence against the backdrop of the complicated reality around.
In the first episode (“Drive out the Darkness”) we follow the evolving friendship of two 3rd-graders – Asaf and Bashar. Asaf, who at the beginning of the year is afraid of Arabs and apprehensive about going to school in Kfar Kara, invites Bashar to his home. It so happens that this is on the day of a murderous terrorist attack at the Carmel Market in Tel-Aviv. Asaf’s s grandmother interrogates Bashar, as if he had committed the attack, but despite everything their friendship continues to flourish. At the end of the episode, Asaf visits Bashar at his home in Baka-el-Garbieh and sleeps over Marwat, Said’s mother, is resentful that the school is isolated from the surrounding reality, so she takes him and a group of women on a tour of Abu-Dis to see the separation wall. When Said returns to kindergarten, chaos breaks loose…
The second episode (“Prayer”) focuses on two kindergarten families – Ali’s and Tomer’s. Ali’s father was born in Nablus and his relatives all live in the West Bank. For Ramadan, Ali’s family travels to Tul-Karem, but the soldiers at the checkpoint do not let them through. Ali breaks down in class. Yair, Tomer’s father, leaves that day for active reserve duty, and explains why he sees no contradiction between the two things. A Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony is held at the school and one of the Arab children suggests a succinct explanation of local history (“The Germans killed the Jews, so the Jews came here and killed the Arabs, and that’s how the State of Israel was established…”)
At the center of the third episode (“Mother’s Tongue”) is Faisal, who for many years lived as “Yigal” and is one of the school founders. His wife, Asma, who was raised on hatred of the Jews and was opposed to the school from the start, undergoes a positive, fascinating process, whereas Faisal looks on in disappointment as the Hebrew language gains precedence at the school. A unique friendship grows between Rawan and Noa, 3rd-graders, but after the two of them have a heart-to-heart talk with Rawan’s father, the future of such a friendship is unclear. The school commemorates the death of Arafat in a way that angers the Jewish parents, and in a 2nd grade show all the children pray “Allah is great”, after which one of the Jewish mothers takes her child out of school.
The fourth episode (“Historical Facts”) focuses on the issues of the national days and the “right” way to commemorate them at a school like this. Sabrine, the Arab 3rd grade homeroom teacher, insists on teaching the children what happened on “Land Day” and “Nakba Day”, while Jan, her Jewish counterpart, feels that no one should be made to feel guilty and explains that “this is what happens in wars”. When Shahaf starts crying after what she heard from her teacher about “Land Day”, an argument breaks out between the teachers, at the end of which Sabrine bursts into tears. Israeli Independence Day is celebrated in Katzir with fireworks and dancing.