Moshe and Galit Alpert

Aviva Lori
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Aviva Lori

Birth:

Moshe was born in 1943 on Kibbutz Afikim (“I feel as though it was 10 years ago”). That same year Janis Joplin and Benny Begin. Galit was born in 1972 on Afikim. That same year Cameron Diaz, Yaheli Sobol and Eyal Berkovic were born.

Moshe and Galit Alpert.Credit: Ilya Melnikov

Home:

Moshe and Galit live on Kibbutz Afikim.

Extended family:

Moshe’s wife, Nili, is an accountant in the Shaham factory on Afikim; his older sister, Rina, works in landscaping and as a tour guide; Nir, 41, is a veterinarian (Nir and Galit are his children from his first wife, Malka, who passed away). Moshe’s children with Nili: Orly, 30, a high-tech worker and Lior, 27, who is completing a degree in mechanical engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Galit’s husband Ofer is 41, and their son Matan is 4-months-old. Moshe has six grandchildren.

Moshe and Galit AlpertCredit: Ilya Melnikov

Core group:

Moshe’s father, Shlomo, immigrated from Russia in 1923 and was part of the garin (core group) that established Afikim, and one of the most eligible bachelors in the Jordan Valley. At the age of 37 he was still unmarried. Only when he went to Riga as an emissary did he meet the ideal woman, Leah.

The future as a welder:

Moshe studied welding, engraving, metalwork and mechanics at the ORT regional high school, and people didn’t expect much of him. “The teachers looked at me as though I was an idiot. Most of the time I was outdoors, in the open air. At the end of eighth grade there was a psychotechnical test and they decided that I was suited for my trade. The idea was to return to the kibbutz and to work at it. After the army I worked in the Kalat Afikim factory sharpening knives.”

Like Johnny Weissmuller:

Moshe was also attracted to nature, swimming and film, and from an early age he was in charge of showing movies on the kibbutz: “‘Cinema Paradiso’ is me. People waited for the weekly movie, and lived from Tuesday to Tuesday. When someone died there was a double reason for mourning the second was missing movie day. There was a Yekke (German Jew) on the kibbutz who made a calculation that if people continued to die, we could miss up to 11 years of movies. I learned the secrets of the movie projector, and at the age of 11 I was already in charge of it on Afikim. At the age of 15-16 I used to order the films, and I continued after my army service too.”

The army:

Moshe served in the Ordnance Corps in the Kirya Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. Galit was a teacher-soldier.

“Parliament” of the elders:

On the way to the army, Moshe crossed Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv and was fascinated by the groups of old men idling on the benches. To capture their encounters he purchased his first movie camera and began shooting. When he was discharged from the army, he convinced the cultural director of Afikim to buy a 16 mm camera, and with it he went to film in the north of the country; he sold his output to Carmel Herzliya newsreels. In 1968, when Israel Television began, he started working for it as a photographer in the north. “I filmed retaliation operations and attacks by the air force, and later various features for the end of the broadcast.”

Hard news:

The uplifting experience was over, said Moshe, and the era of hard work on the news broadcasts began. Feature films about nature in the north were left on the editing room floor and didn’t make it to the news broadcasts. In addition to his work in television he was appointed a CBS correspondent in Israel and worked for the network until its local offices closed in 2006.

The moment I made a decision:

“During the first Lebanon war I was working with [journalist] Ron Ben-Yishai and suddenly he disappeared. I filmed and did the narration too. Yair Stern, the news director, liked it, and I became a reporter-photographer until Itzik Cohen, the head of the sound technicians committee, said that my technician who was previously a taxi driver had not received proper training and the reports I prepared with him were not approved. Toward the end of the war I was the only photographer at the battle in Lake Karoun. I picked up the phone to Stern, who was enthusiastic and said: ‘Send it immediately by plane and if you don’t make the regular flight we’ll send out a special plane.’ An hour later he called and said: ‘Alpert, you’re going on a two-week vacation and we can’t broadcast the report. We have an ultimatum from the technicians committee that you worked with an illegal technician, and if we don’t send you on leave immediately, they’re going on strike.”

Lapid next to me:

“A few days later Yair Stern called and said: ‘Tommy [Lapid, the director general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority] is standing next to me, and wants to say a few words to you.’ And then Tommy said: ‘Listen Alpert, you’ve brought us a lot of respect and you’re doing wonderful work.’ And then Yair said, ‘Tuvia Saar [the director of Israel Television] wants to say something to you.’ Then Tuvia took the phone and said: ‘I want to explain something to you about the hierarchy here. You’re working opposite Yair but he doesn’t make decisions alone, I’m above him, but I don’t make decisions alone either, because above me sits Tommy, and above him Zevulun [Hammer, the education minister] and above him the prime minister [Menachem] Begin. But Begin is not alone either, above him is God. And even God is not alone, because above him is Itzik Cohen.”

And thank you, Itzik Cohen:

Thanks to him, Moshe began to do what he really loves: nature films. “Pelican Odyssey” (2003) was his first film, which he began to think about several years earlier while on the Lebanese border. “On a winter’s day, when the sun sent out an amazing ray of light over the Galilee, and there was a rainbow inside and a flock of pelicans underneath I was envious of the freedom of this flight as a kibbutznik, whose freedom of movement was restricted. They flew without visas, passports and the approval of the kibbutz general assembly. I wanted to make a film about them but I didn’t have funding.” In 1982 he received a hefty bonus from CBS for taking exclusive photographs from the Lebanon war that were broadcast worldwide, and this helped him clinch a deal for producing “Pelican Odyssey.”

Wolves’ love story:

The film was sold to broadcasting authorities the world over. Israel’s Channel 1 also wanted to air it, in exchange for giving him credit. “I told them you can’t buy groceries with credit.” The success of the film opened the door to additional nature films by Moshe, and to the establishment of a production company on Afikim, an industry that employs kibbutz members today. For 17 years Moshe worked on the film “Land of Genesis,” which was successfully screened last year in movie theaters. It is a wolves’ love story.

The caregiver:

A special relationship developed between Moshe and the wolves from the Golan Heights. Eight of them live on the wolves’ farm on Afikim. “I wanted to make a film about wolves, but couldn’t get close to them in nature so I asked for special permission from the Nature and Parks Authority to raise some. I take them for walks; they’re tame and don’t run away. I serve as a caregiver because over the years some have become invalids.”

Galit’s birth:

It happened on Shavuot morning at 5:45 A.M. Moshe came with the camera and Galit was pushing her way out but he asked his wife Malka to wait: “It happened fast and I wasn’t ready with the roll of film, and she restrained herself for a moment so I had time to film and everything was fine.”

A girl of dreams:

Galit attended Beit Yerah High School, “She was a girl of dreams and fantasies,” says her father, “but she excelled in the things she liked.” Galit protests vigorously: “I was good at everything, except for geography. In eighth grade we were given a blank map of Israel and had to put in the sites, and I put Bethlehem above Lake Kinneret. That was the family embarrassment.”

Rebel without a cause:

“I rebelled mainly against myself,” says Galit. “At home there were no reasons to rebel. Everything was on the table.”

World of chocolate:

Galit received her bachelor’s degree in the departments of African studies, and Spanish and Latin American studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She wanted to be a tour guide abroad. After completing her studies she realized that it was not the right direction for her, and traveled to Belgium for an unlimited period of time; her brother Nir was studying veterinary medicine there. “Two weeks before the trip the word chocolate entered my mind. I arrived in Belgium and fell in love. I discovered the world of chocolate and my inner world and it all came together.”
After three years she finished a degree in chocolate and ice cream at a private academy, including an internship, and returned to Israel. She rented an apartment in Kiryat Ono and began making chocolate in the kitchen there. She supported herself by working at the airport for CAL credit cards. Word got out about the unique taste of her chocolate and she gained a reputation, opened stands in malls and sold to private customers. The secretary of Kibbutz Degania Bet heard about it, and invited her to make chocolate on the kibbutz to encourage tourism in the area. “I liked the place but I was afraid to leave the center of the country, and for two months I vacillated.”

The papers fell on her head:

“One day, in 2005, I opened my clothes closet in the apartment in Kiryat Ono and from the top part, the pages of my final project at the school in Belgium fell on my head, with the words: ‘Chocolate and ice cream on the banks of Lake Kinneret.’ I had forgotten all about it. In April 2007 we opened the chocolate farm on Degania. Nir is my silent partner.”

Reflections in the mirror:

A creative urge that comes from within this, says Moshe, is what makes Galit like him. “And for us the sky is not the limit,” adds Galit. “Except for the 10 Commandments, which must not be violated, anything is possible.”

Nerves:

Nothing can anger people in a home where there is a passion for chocolate. But when Galit was a little girl, Moshe recalls, her brother Nir would get on her nerves, and she would have major crises. “We were hardly home,” says Galit, “and when we’d get there, it was to enjoy the time with them and not to get angry.”

Fantasy:

Moshe and Galit are people who fulfill their fantasies. “And I expect to continue doing so until the age of 210,” declares Moshe. “When you start thinking logically, everything comes to a stop,” says Galit, “and for us there’s no such thing, because anything can happen. When I was young my fantasy was to be a fairy and now it’s coming true. I’m the chocolate fairy.”

Comments