‘Have we gone mad’? Israel signs movie deal with Russia, prompting outrage

The agreement, which was 15 years in the making, will see the two countries co-producing films.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel and Russia have inked a deal to boost collaboration between the countries’ respective film industries, prompting outrage among supporters of Ukraine.

The agreement took nearly 15 years to come to fruition, a statement by Russia’s Culture Ministry said. According to the terms of the deal, Russia and Israel will jointly produce films and present them at international film festivals.

Russia’s Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova, who faces sanctions from the U.S. and European Union, remarked, “With this partnership, filmmakers from both Russia and Israel can exchange insights, co-produce movies, and delve into film archives. We eagerly anticipate the participation of Israeli movie creators in our international film festival competitions and open debates. We’re also gearing up to expand the reach of Russian-Israeli movies.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Russia Alexander Ben Zvi, with whom Lyubimova signed the deal, said he envisioned many collaborative projects in the film industry moving forward.

“Producers are interested in sharing experiences with each other. Israeli films are very strong and shot at a high level. The Russian public will be able to appreciate them,” Ben Zvi said at the signing ceremony.

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Anna Zharova, the CEO and co-founder of the Israeli-Ukrainian Alliance, took to Facebook to air her disbelief, questioning, “Have our Culture Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry gone mad?”

She emphasized that the film collaboration with Russia began as an idea 15 years prior, questioning the timing of its signing amid a large-scale war where “a terror-promoting nation with a dictatorial governance has breached an autonomous nation’s sovereignty, making cinema and theater the primary vessels for propagating fascism?”

Zharova called for the deal to be suspended, adding, “This is a real f**k up already on the part of our government, which needs to be urgently dealt with.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, industry giants like Disney, WarnerMedia, Sony, Paramount, and Universal Pictures have halted their film screenings in Russia, with some exiting the Russian market entirely.