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10.14.16 Issue

Curtis Hutt, UNO Religious Studies/Schwalb Center

On Oct. 27, the Israeli film director Shimon Dotan will travel to Omaha for a showing of his recent provocative film The Settlers sponsored by the UNO Journal of Religion and Film and the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies. The film will start at 7 p.m. on the UNO North Campus in CPACS 130/132. Following the screening, the director Shimon Dotan will answer questions and take part in a panel discussion led by Dr. Curtis Hutt (Religious Studies/Schwalb Center). Joining Shimon Dotan will be Dr. Bill Blizek (founder of the Journal of Religion and Film) and Rabbi Shlomo Abramovich (Visiting Scholar, Beth Israel Synagogue).

A still photo from the movie The Settlers.

A still photo from the movie The Settlers.

The topic of The Settlers is an issue that has split Israeli society for almost five decades and sparked a contentious dispute between the USA and Israel. Dotan’s documentary, which has been criticized from the left and right sides of the political spectrum, follows the history of the settlements and their growth on the West Bank. Archival footage is mixed with contemporary interviews with settlers who describe in their own words who they are and what they are doing in the face of international pressure from across the world.

Dr. William Blizek, who reviewed the film in the April 2016 edition of The Journal of Religion and Film, is effusive in his praise of the director Dotan. His film-making is “honest and unbiased” as he lets the settlers – from the past and present – speak for themselves. For Blizek, the film is about “religious fanaticism.” While not all settlers in the past or present are religious or political extremists, many are, and Dotan’s film opens up a window into their world. Dr. Moshe Gershovich, Director of the Schwalb Center, is proud to be hosting a showing of the controversial film. “If public universities aren’t the place to discuss hotly contested, difficult issues, then where is that place?”

For more information about the film or the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies, contact Kasey Davis at 402.554.2788 or For more information about the Journal of Religion and Film and the Religious Studies department at UNO, please contact Staci Geis at 402.554.2628 or