L.A. publisher aiming to have Woody Allen shoot in Israel


LOS ANGELES (JTA) — The publisher of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles has launched a project aiming to have Woody Allen shoot his next film in Israel.

Rob Eshman, also the paper’s editor, figures that for about $18 million, the filmmaker could be persuaded to make Israel his next production stop. Allen has boosted tourism through his cinematic paeans to London, Barcelona, Paris and now Rome.

Eshman hit on the idea after reading interviews with Allen following release of his latest movie, “To Rome, With Love.”

Why, reporters asked, did the man who once saw no good reason to ever leave Manhattan start shooting pictures in Europe?

“Well,” Allen told The Wall Street Journal, “the Italians call and say, ‘We’ll pay for it.’” So did Britain, Spain, France and even Russia.

Eshman, with the backing of his staff, is taking the first steps to turn the idea into reality. He has enlisted Jewcer, an Internet “crowdfunding” platform to finance projects and ideas “benefiting the global Jewish community and Israel.”

Jay Firestone, the Journal’s webmaster, has produced a video with Noa Tishby in which the glamorous Israeli star and activist pitches the Woody Allen Israel Project.

Still for all the enthusiasm, the parameters set for the project are pretty daunting. By Aug. 23, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time, pledges totaling $9 million must be on hand, and credit cards will not be charged if the total falls short. But if the goal is reached, Eshman is confident that he can find a big Hollywood name to match the popular subscription for a total of $18 million.

As an inducement to less affluent givers, the Jewish Journal has set up a ladder system of awards ranging from a name mention in its print and online editions to cocktails with Tishby for a $36,000 pledge.

In boosting his project, Eshman argued that the Allen movie “will enable Israel to enter the world’s imagination in a way a billion dollars of hasbara [public relations] couldn’t possibly buy.”

Allen has given no indication how he feels about the newly launched campaign.

In an Op-Ed in the New York Times in January 1988, titled ”Am I Reading the Papers Correctly?" Allen criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestiniain protesters in the West Bank. He also described himself as a supporter of Israel who rarely spoke out on Israeli policy, The Associated Press reported.        

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