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Making of Documentary ‘shoah’ Was Aided by Grant from Israel Government

The film “Shoah” was aided in the making by a substantial Israeli government grant, decided upon personally by then-Premier Menachem Begin. This was disclosed in Jerusalem this week where the historic nine-hour film by Claude Lanzmann was recently shown before an invited audience and is now to be generally released.

Knesset member Eliahu Ben-Elissar, who was Begin’s first Director-General at the Prime Minister’s Office, said the then-Premier made available to Lanzmann the sum of $850,000 to help with the film’s financing. This was because Begin had seen in “Shoah” a national Jewish interest, Ben-Elissar said, and because he had been impressed by the producer’s presentations of his plans for making the film when he met him in 1977.

Thereafter, Begin took an interest in the film’s progress and Ben-Elissar sought to raise further funding from other non-governmental sources. According to the newspaper Davar, there is “surprise among certain circles” that the State of Israel’s support for the film is not noted among the many other screened acknowledgements at the start of the film.

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