Michaelis, Director of Current Affairs, Link TV
Michaelis serves on the Board of Directors for Internews Network and is the
Director of Current Affairs for Link TV in San Francisco.
Jerusalem in 1945, Michaelis studied at Hebrew University and received his
degree in philosophy and sociology. He has produced and directed documentaries
on social-political issues for the BBC Channel 4 in the UK as well as for ARD
and ZDF in Germany. Michaelis served as a news editor in London and Washington
for ARD. His work on various talk shows and documentaries has always been on the
forefront of legitimizing the rights of minorities in Israel.
Internews, he created the first satellite two-way link between Tunis and
Jerusalem in October, 1993. Michaelis also helped produce, with the Jerusalem
Film Institute, the Palestinian Broadcasting Conference held in Jerusalem in
"Occupied Minds" (see also Dajani)
Occupied Minds is the story of two journalists, Jamal Dajani, a
Palestinian-American and David Michaelis, an Israeli citizen, who journey to
Jerusalem, their mutual birthplace, to explore new solutions and offer unique
insights into the divisive Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film takes viewers
on an emotional and intensely personal odyssey through the streets of one of the
world’s most volatile regions.
Dajani and Michaelis grew up in Jerusalem just a few miles apart from one
another—but in reality, worlds apart. Both have extensive and complex ties to
their homeland. Jamal traces his family history in Jerusalem back to the 7th
century, while David was born in Jerusalem to parents who had immigrated from
Germany in the 1920’s to escape growing anti-Semitism.
In their San Francisco offices, the two men are the only Palestinian Israeli
team working together in American media; at Link TV, the nation’s leading
network dedicated to presenting global news, issues and culture. Michaelis, as
Director of Current Affairs, brings the national Link TV audience investigative
and other insightful news features. Before co-founding Link TV, he was most
recently producer of “Popolitika,” the most popular news program on Israel TV.
Dajani, as Director of Middle Eastern Programming, produces the 2005 Peabody
Award-winning daily newscast—MOSAIC: World News from the Middle East. The
program features selections from daily TV news programs produced by national
broadcasters throughout the Middle East, including, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel,
Syria the Palestinian Authority, and Iran, among others. Dajani also produces
analytical features on the Middle East and Islam, as well as often appearing as
a commentator on those issues for networks.
After four years of collaboration and watching the escalation of hostilities
between Israelis and Palestinians with increasing alarm, they decided to combine
their personal experiences and expertise to examine substantial opportunities
for peace in the Middle East.
Far from the safe shores of San Francisco, Dajani and Michaelis explore the
possibilities of lasting peace in the Middle East by interviewing leading
activists, government officials and civilians on both sides of the conflict.
Among the myriad of voices they hear from are: a wanted Palestinian gunman, an
Israeli soldier who is breaking the silence about his service in the Occupied
Territories, an Israeli surgeon who lost his eyesight in a suicide bombing, an
Israeli mother who lost her son in the conflict, and a Palestinian activist who
lost her cousin.
One man, a leading gunman for the Palestinian Intifada who lost his mother,
brother and friends in the fighting, reflects upon the cumulative effect of
daily indignities and suffering: “A person is burned on the inside and his life
closes in on him… All he wants to do is explode.” When asked about the
possibility of Israelis and Palestinians coexisting peacefully, the blinded
Israeli doctor says: “We must differentiate between what is needed and what is
real. In reality, we’re not so good.”
As Dajani and Michaelis make their way through the many worlds that make up
contemporary Israel and Palestine, they struggle to find lasting solutions to
what others believe may be a never-ending conflict.