Bourdain does the Holy Land
I enjoyed the show that Anthony Bourdain made in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza on CNN, the season premiere of his “Parts Unknown” series. I haven’t seen Bourdain’s shows before, or read any of his books, but I like Bourdain’s iconoclastic, anti-sentimental world view. At the top of the show he confessed to being half Jewish, professing no belief whatsoever in a higher power and very little previous interest in his religious roots. That was a good start.
The show found a good balance between Israelis and Palestinian and a smart geographic mix between the three main geographic areas they visited. Despite the rough edge, the producers clearly made an effort to find believers in peace and reconciliation: the forgiving Israeli father of a girl who was killed in a rocket attack in southern Israel, a mixed couple who have found happiness in the West Bank. A few people who have worked on “Holy Land” were on the crew; it was good to see my friend and colleague Noam Sharon on camera, talking about a spot that had been targeted by Israeli price tag vandals.