The 34th annual Jerusalem Film Festival opened on July 13 with a screening and greetings in Sultan Pool, a valley in between the West Jerusalem and the Old City. Sitting in the large amphitheater under the open sky, one could see the gorgeous old Jewish neighborhood of Yemin Moshe on one side, and the walls and steeples of the Old City on the other. The next day, three men, Palestinian citizens of Israel, came out of Al Aqsa Mosque and shot two Israeli Druze police officers who were guarding the compound. The police officers, themselves Arabs, died. Their assailants were killed too. This terrible incident started a new cycle of escalated violence and retaliations between Israelis and Palestinians.

But if you were at the beautiful Cinemateque, a site of the Festival, you’d never know about these political and military developments — there...

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