Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

1 December 2021

Facebook   Twitter

Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

TV review: Valley of the Tears

Effective, but flawed, depiction of war and class divisions

Valley of the tears is available to view on

Valley of the tears is available to view on All 4   (Click to enlarge)

Amnon Cohen, North London Socialist Party

Valley of the Tears is an Israeli TV series which is set in the first days of the war between the Israeli state and a coalition of Arab states, principally Egypt and Syria, in October 1973.

It follows Avinoam, a geeky intelligence analyst, Meni, an improbable TV star trying to rescue his son, and Melachi, an activist in the Israeli Black Panthers who breaks out of prison in order to join his unit in the Golan Heights (the border area separating Israel and Syria, mostly occupied by the Israeli Defence Force since the 1967 war).

The Israeli Black Panthers was a protest movement of North African Jewish Israelis, inspired by the American Black Panthers, who described themselves as socialists and fought against the racist discrimination suffered by Mizrahim (immigrants of North African origin) and against their status as second-class citizens.

Arrogant elite

The opening episode of the series describes the arrogance of the military and political commanders who ignored all the evidence of Syrian war preparations, leaving the Israeli army unprepared.

This initially led to military humiliation for the supposedly invincible Israeli army before a counter-offensive resulted in a military stalemate. The 1973 war caused a profound crisis in Israeli society, discrediting the Israeli Labour Party which had, up to then, been the 'party of permanent government'.

The class divide between the working-class Mizrahim foot soldiers and the middle-class Ashkenazi Kibbutz members - who formed the elite in Israeli society and the commanders in the army - is a recurring theme, as is the continual discrimination against Mizrahim from the Israeli state.

When the foot soldiers are isolated and outnumbered, the HQ commanders, who claim they could not help them, suddenly find a way to send a rescue party when they are told that a downed Israeli pilot is with them.

The series does portray some Israeli military atrocities, the racism (against Mizrahim) of the Israeli state, and the bureaucratic incompetence of the elites. But it does not escape the genre of Israeli wartime propaganda. Every single shell fired by the Israeli soldiers destroys an enemy tank. In every skirmish, an outnumbered Israeli unit defeats its enemies.

At one point, an Israeli general walks into a field hospital full of mortally wounded soldiers screaming with pain. The general gives a rousing speech, after which the soldiers somehow pull themselves out of their stretchers, climb into tanks and drive off to heroically vanquish their foes!

The Syrians are a hidden enemy. There are only Syrian characters with brief speaking parts, and no real attempt at character development.

The series does show the degree to which the Israeli state was at war with Mizrahim working-class Jews, who were fighting for their rights. But it ends with nationalist clichés about the army being a melting pot where all elements of society are brought together, and tells Israeli viewers that despite their differences, at the end of the day their national unity is what matters.

Unlike previous Israeli TV series such as Fauda, there is no real questioning of the aims of the Israeli war machine, and no real attempt to paint the Arab 'enemy' as real human beings, to identify them or to explain what motivates them.

But despite these faults, the series is entertaining. It does effectively depict the horror of war, and provides a window into the ethnic and class divisions of Israeli society.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 1 December 2021:


NHS Critical

Covid-19: New variant emerges but same old capitalist disease

27 dead in channel migrant tragedy

Bulb bailed out, nationalise energy to solve price crisis

Khan threatens further London transport cuts

Kickstart scheme 'insufficient and flawed'

Tories strengthen repressive laws


After COP26: where next for the climate movement?


Argentine elections see deepening polarisation


Wales: The Labour-Plaid Cymru agreement - jam tomorrow, maybe

Rural life

Behind the rural idyll - the problems of everyday life

Workplace news

NHS workers - vote yes for action to win a decent pay rise

Staff and students unite against university bosses' attacks

UCU higher education disputes

Education unions lead campaign against Leicester academisation

RMT strikes against abolition of night tube train operators

South Yorkshire Stagecoach drivers strike against measly 1% pay offer

Nottingham and Mansfield trade unions rally against cuts and for better pay

Oaks Park school strike ends following forced concessions


East London mass non-payment wins housing victory

Marching to stop violence against women

Housing campaigners protest CEO champagners

Building a political alternative to Tory and Labour cuts

Stop the cuts to Uni arts funding

Plymouth: Hundreds attend vigil for Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Socialism 2021: How we reached our fighting fund appeal target

End fuel poverty

Readers' opinion

TV review: Valley of the Tears


Home   |   The Socialist 1 December 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleTV review: Vaccine Wars: The Truth About Pfizer

triangleFilm review: The Harder They Fall

triangleJohn Barnes on class and capitalism. What's missing?

triangleTV review The Riots 2011: One Week in August

triangleTV review Maid


triangleAnne: Hillsborough and the fight for justice

triangleMoney Heist: A Robin Hood tale set in modern-day capitalism

triangleTV review: Squid Game

triangleTV Review - Help: Heart-wrenching portrayal of Covid care home crisis


triangleWar criminal Tony Blair knighted

triangleNapo AGM 2021: Union placed on war footing

triangleNuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis


triangleKazakhstan: Working-class revolt only suppressed by massive mobilisation of troops

triangleTories hammer nail in pensions triple lock coffin


triangleSudan: End military rule and poverty


triangleReflections on the Lebanese tragedy one year on


triangleStonewall attacked by the establishment


triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Racism in the police - the fight for justice for the Cardiff 3


triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: Israel-Palestine - a socialist programme

Article dated 1 December 2021

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party


Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales


Bulk book orders

New member submission


triangle18 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: Racism in the police - the fight for justice for the Cardiff 3

triangle18 Jan Caerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: Where is Britain going?

triangle19 Jan York & North Yorkshire TUSC people's budget meeting


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party



Campaigns news

Workplace news


Readers' opinion


Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1162 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files

Coventry bin workers on strike, January 2022, photo by Dave Nellist

Socialist Party members joined the picket lines of striking bin workers in Coventry fighting for better pay. January 2022

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version