* Jerusalem Film Festival 2015


Category |Conflicts, Current Affairs, Economy, Education, Environment, Ethnography, Human Interest, Human Rights, Justice, Migration, Politics, Social Issues, Youth
Year | 2015
Country | Israel
Running time | 52’ - 72’
Format | HD
Production | Yoad Earon Films
Director | Badran Badran

Yichia (14) and his brother Hamam (8) come from Tul Karem, in the Palestinian Authority. Neither their parents nor older siblings can cross checkpoints to enter the state of Israel and look for work, and there are little means for employment in Tul Karem. Therefore, Yichia and Hamam must cross the border into Israel daily and work as street beggars. Yichia and Hamam become the sole providers for their family of eleven.

Yichia has been working as a beggar since he was 8 years old. In this ‘profession’ the younger the child is the more money he or she earns; a young, vulnerable child often forces compassion and guilt from the passerby to give money. However, at the age of 14, Yichia no longer appears vulnerable and does not get empathy from those who pass him by

Yichia and Hamam’s father decides to use Yichia’s experience to have him and his younger brother, Hamam, work independently, with no handler above them. This means that there is no one who tells him what to do and takes commission of 90% of his income. In a modern version of Oliver Twist the two brothers find themselves running a kind of ‘new start up’. Yichia teaches his younger brother Hamam the way of working at the intersections, and tell him all the profession’s secrets, which he knows better than anybody else.

Establishing this new family business is not an easy move for two main reasons. Firstly, the brothers must fight other children and handlers for their spot at the intersection. Secondly, unlike Yichia who has never thought to disobey his father, Hamam is a rebel and full of joy for life. He does not accept his destiny as a street beggar and during the time he has to work all he can think about is playing like any other child.

Yichia understands that Hamam is different, and that he is not willing to obey their father and work hard. Yichia also worries about the time when he will not be able to cross the checkpoint anymore. Yichia is around the age when staying in Israel is forbidden without a working permit. That means he must find another way to earn money. Yichia hides some money from his father and tells his younger brother that he is saving the money to open a small toy stand in Tul Karem market.

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