It’s Better to Jump tells the story of the Palestinian city of Akka (literally “acre”) which is part of historic Palestine, and now sits on the coast of northern Israel. In 1750 the Ottoman Empire ruler Daher el-Omar built a wall on the ocean side of the city, atop an 11th century Crusader wall, which has protected it from invasions over the centuries. The wall stands from 33 to 43 feet high, 3 to 6 feet thick, and local Palestinian residents whose families have been there for 10 or 20 generations — or longer — consider it a rite of passage to jump off the wall and into the sea.
The filmmakers use this tradition as a metaphor for the spirit that’s allowed the dwindling Arab community that remains in Akka to resist attempts to displace them, in spite of the hardships that they must endure in order to stay there. Many left during the 1948 “ethnic cleansing” of Palestine, and more recent attempts to “gentrify” the beautiful coastal city by bringing in Europeans and building it up as an arts community which further reduced the population. In 1995 there were more than 8000 Arabs living in the old city; now that number is down to some 3000.