On the Map
By Alan Manheim
January 18, 2019
When does sport and national fervor come together. The Olympics, World Cup soccer are the events that come to mind. The "miracle on ice", when the Olympic hockey team of the USA defeated the Soviet Union, in 1980 was an American moment of sport and nationalistic fervor. The movie "On the Map, directed by Dani Menkin," tells the story of the Israeli counterpart. A "miracle on the hardwood" Maccabi Tel Aviv's defeat of CSKA, the Soviet Unions, Red Army basketball team, and winning the 1977 European Basketball championship.
The film focuses on Tal Brody, an American, drafted to be in the NBA, but who chooses to play for Maccabi and creates enthusiasm and interest for basketball in Israel. The film weaves Israeli history and politics with first hand accounts and exciting film of the pivotal games. Images of Moshe Dayan attending the games, and Yitzhak Rabin's devotion to the team provide incite to the mingling of nation with sport.
The film was shown at B'nai Jeshurun synagogue on December 16th, with Tal Brody and Dani Menkin in attendance, and was enthusiastically applauded by the audience. Mr. Brody who is a goodwill ambassador of Israel gave wonderful anecdotes of the emotions he felt and explained the origin of the film's title "On the Map". After defeating CSKA, by the amazing score of 91 to 79, in the tiny Belgian town of Virton (The Soviet Union refused to play in Israel), Maccabi played the championship game against the perennial European champion, Italian team, Mobilgirgi Varese, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. That game ended with Maccabi's winning in a dramatic ending. Tal Brody was interviewed on the court after the game and said ,"We are on the map and we will stay on the map in sport and everything else." He explained to the audience that during many games in Europe, he was aware of indifference to Israel, even noting that many maps omitted Israel. Brody's comment became a rallying cry for Israel and is remembered as a turning point in the nation's history.
The movie was quite emotional, recalling moments in Israeli history of war and political upheaval. At the moment of Israel's win over Varese, the audience applauded with delight as if they were at the game. Dani Menkin is a two time winner of Israel's Academy Award, for his films "39 pounds of love" and "Is that you". To read more information about On the Map and other movies by Dani Menkin, you can log on to his web site at:
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Comment by The Jewish Post's Publisher, Henry Levy:
Our Art Director for the last 26 years, Kanan Abramson, has attended both Maccabi Tel Aviv's heroic winning Basketball games vs. colossal CSKA Moscow and Mobilgirgi Varese in 1977, right after which he drew a famous painting (presented herein) of Maccabi beating the Russians, the original of which has been given to Tal Brody to keep forever.