The Prime Ministers – History through the eyes of an Israeli Diplomat

The Prime ministers is a two – movie series, The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers and  The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers. The movies are based on the best- selling books by Ambassador Yehuda Avner.The films take the audience inside the offices of Israel’s Prime Ministers through the eyes of an insider, Yehuda Avner, who served as a chief aide, English language note-taker and speechwriter to Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and Shimon Peres.  

The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers in now available on Netflix

[The movie  includes] “the epochal 1967 Six-Day War. One of the highlights is Avner’s recollections of a meeting between Eshkol and Lyndon Johnson at the latter’s Texas ranch, where Eshkol, who had spent his early years on a kibbutz, impressed the down-home U.S. president with his veterinary skills. More enlightening is Avner’s account of spotting a note passed by Johnson to his Secretary of State Dean Rusk featuring the instruction, “Dean — Go slow on this thing,” which Avner pocketed and still has to to this day.

The film then proceeds to Meir, who led the nation through a series of terrorist attacks and ultimately the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It presents a fascinating portrait of the indefatigable female prime minister who triumphed in wartime despite her utter lack of military experience. Subsequent segments detail the in-fighting that went on between Meir’s successors and such figures as Foreign Minister Abba Eban, who Avner cites for his verbosity.” [ The Hollywood Reporter]

The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers focuses on Ambassador Avner’s years working with Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir and then US Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin and reveals new details about the Six-Day War, the development of Israel’s close strategic relationship with the United States, the fight against terrorism, the Yom Kippur War and its aftermath.

The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and PeacemakersThe film examines Rabin’s election as the country’s first native born Israeli leader in 1974, his negotiating the first bilateral treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1975, the dramatic events surrounding Israel’s rescue of hostages in Entebbe in 1976, the tense relationship between newly elected US President Jimmy Carter and Rabin and Rabin’s subsequent downfall in a financial scandal involving his wife Leah. The movie also explores Ambassador Avner’s decision to work for Menachem Begin when he surprised the world in 1977 and was elected Prime Minister. It looks at the drama behind Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem, the Camp David negotiating process, the difficult relationship between President Carter and Menachem Begin as well as the tense relations that arose between Begin and President Reagan over the 1982 Lebanon War. The documentary also recounts Begin’s decline after the death of his beloved wife Aliza and Yehuda Avner’s career as a diplomat in the UK and Australia before returning to Israel to work with Yitzhak Rabin not long before his assassination in 1995 after he had been elected a second time as Israel’s Prime Minister. Starring the voices of Michael Douglas as Yitzhak Rabin and Christoph Waltzas Menachem Begin and introducing Nicola Peltz as the voice of Esther Cailingold, ‘The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers’ is full of emotion and rich history with rare, never before seen photos and film footage.  

‘Avner is a gifted, if slightly florid, raconteur, and ‘The Pioneers’ is framed by his silver-tongued reminiscences. One can imagine sitting in a room with him for hours — maybe even days, as in the case of the filmmakers — and being regaled with dramatic stories of the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War and listening to him name-check President Lyndon B. Johnson, Israeli politician Abba Eban, Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and a host of other significant 20th-century figures.

The historical narrative of ‘The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers’ may be an intimate and personal one, but it offers many insights into the religious and geopolitical causes of today’s continuing Arab-Israeli conflict. It’s a gift to be able to pick the brain of someone who remembers so far back.” [Washington Post]

The movie trailer


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