Israel lures Hollywood filmmakers

MUMBAI: Crying halt to Hollywood filming Jesus‘ crucifixion in Italy and the Crusader invasion of the Holy Land in Morocco, Israel is wooing Hollywood filmmakers to shoot on its locations.

Israeli officials are promising better tax breaks, terror attack insurance and handouts of up to $400,000 in this connection. By this, they want to cash in on the multibillion-dollar industry and want the real Jerusalem on the silver screen and not Mediterranean stand-ins.

"It‘s absurd. Movies set in Jerusalem are filmed in Malta, Morocco and Greece," Yoram Honig, an Israeli film director and 10th-Jeneration Jerusalemite has been quoted to have said.

He heads the Jerusalem Film Fund, which was set up three years ago to encourage more moviemaking in the city.

For a long time, it didn‘t make financial sense for the producers to shoot in Israel. According to Hollywood filmakers, Jerusalem is too volatile to ensure smooth filming on location.

While Israel in the 1980s attracted such star-studded productions as Sylvester Stallone‘s Rambo 3 and Chuck Norris‘ The Delta Force, it later lost out to other countries that started giving big tax incentives to producers.

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