From the Playwright
The Intentions of the "The Admission"
By Motti Lerner
The writing of "The Admission" is part of the growing interest in Israel to explore the events of the 1948 War of Independence that led to the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. Since the middle of the 1980's, several historians have researched the Israeli military archive, The Zionist archive in Jerusalem, and the national government archive in Jerusalem, and collected testimonies of soldiers who participated in the war. Some of the most established historians in the country—Among them are Prof. Benny Morris, Prof. Yoav Gelber, Prof. Yair Oron, Prof. Uri Bar-Josef and others—have portrayed a narrative of the creation of the Palestinian Refugees problem which is quite different from the Government official narrative of the 50's and describe cases in which Palestinians civilians were actually expelled from their cities and villages, and some cases in which Palestinian Civilians were massacred. In the last 20 years— since the signing of the Oslo Accord in which Israel and the PLO recognized each other—it seems quite clear for many sectors of Israeli society that the dialogue with the Palestinians must include the recognition of the partial responsibility of the Israeli army for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. This recognition is part of the Beilin-Abu Mazen memorandum, part of the Peres-Abu Allah memorandum, and part of President Clinton 2001 Peace Plan. I believe that this recognition will strengthen the trust between Israelis and Palestinians and this trust will eventually encourage them to reach a peace agreement, which is so crucial for the future of the State of Israel.
Although the play is not a documentary, it is based on the available historical research and also on oral testimonies. Its writing was inspired by the events of the conquest of the Palestinian village Tantura on May 23, 1948, during the most difficult period in Israel's War of Independence. The village of Tantura was located about 3 miles north of the Zichron Yaacov, where I was born, and where my family has lived in since the first Aliya in 1882. It is also inspired by the controversy about the conquest of Tantura which erupted in Israel in 2003, following a thesis written in Haifa University which was first accepted but later rejected by the Department of History. Throughout my growing up in Zichron Yaacov I met neighbors and relatives who witnessed the massacre, and Palestinians who survived it, and I was always troubled by the details of these stories. Still, the play is not an attempt to make a historical judgment based on the materials I collected, but an attempt to explore how Jews and Arabs in Israel have created their historical memories as a means for survival. The play is trying to suggest that theses historical memories have to be explored and revised continuously in order to create a solid basis for reconciliation between the two people.