Hanna Azoulay Hasfari
The Berbers
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Feature film


Arabic, French

Filming Location: Morocco

The year is 1955 in French ruled Morocco. A small Jewish community has been living for a few hundred years in the village Ayat Bugmage in the Atlas Mountains, conducting a harmonious life with their Berber neighbors.

But in recent years the depletion of means of livelihood has caused many of the village people to leave to Marrakesh to work at the French factories. The reduction of the Jewish population makes Rabbi Elkayam, the community's blind leader, worried: he finds it very difficult to maintain Jewish life, have kosher food, and find adequate matches for the daughters.

Then, as they celebrate a Jewish holiday at the synagogue , a couple of donkey-ridden men show up. The two tell the bewildered Rabbi Elkayam that, although looking so different, they are Jews too, that a Jewish state was established, and that both were assigned to bring the community back to Zion. Rabbi Elkayam is thrilled and eager to leave everything behind, unaware of the bitter disagreement between the two emissaries. One of them falls in love with the community and wants to bring them all to Israel, while the other insists on implementing the selection rules Israel's government has set for the North African Jewry – old, disabled, mentally ill,  and chronic disease carriers won't be allowed to immigrate. The young state, it appeares, is interested only in the young and able who could contribute to the Zionist effort.

The conflict at the heart of this moving, colorful, and exiting drama, tells the true story behind the immigration of about 30,000 Atlas Mountains Jews, who lived among the Berbers since the seventh century.


Writer and director: Hanna Azoulay Hasfari (“Orange People”)

Producers: Haim Mecklberg, Estee Yacov-Mecklberg

Executive Producer: Yigal Mograbi