• The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70 by David Roberts (1796-1864) | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Legend of the Destruction

Tal Hartuv - 17 May 2022

With news of its imminent release in cinemas all over the country, the film “Agudat HaHorban” (Legend of the Destruction) was a sellout in Israel in a matter of hours.

Legend of Destruction is an Israeli animated historical drama film about the destruction of Jewish Temple during the first century. It tells the story of the Jewish Great Revolt against the mighty Roman Empire, and the Jewish infighting which lead to the Temple’s destruction and the ultimate diaspora of the Jewish people.

“The film tells the story of the Jewish Great Revolt against the mighty Roman Empire, the Temple’s destruction and the ultimate diaspora of the Jewish people”

The movie was eight years in the making. The first four years were spent developing and discussing historical accuracy via preliminary sketches. Historical sources such as the Talmud and Josephus’ book, “The War of the Jews,” were used as well as exhibits from the Israel museum, the Temple Mount Institute and even portraits of Roman people painted on burial caves in Alexandria, Egypt. Historians call the film a historical work of art and one that faithfully represents Jewish life in the Land of Israel under Roman occupation.

The other four years were dedicated to the execution of 1,500 astonishing paintings. Every illustration is unique and a work of art in Itself. There are only two short animated pieces in the whole movie, the rest is a narration over the rapidly changing paintings.

David Polonsky – Ukraine-born book illustrator and artistic film director | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The breath-taking paintings were executed by Kiev-born Israeli illustrator, David Polonsky. True to Soviet education, Polonsky, who made Aliya to Israel when he was eight, was given the choice back in Russian-controlled Kiev to excel in music, science, art or chess. Polonsky chose art. As a child he remembers that all he wanted to do was to draw. His favourite things to draw were sharks, which from the age of five, he drew every day, on every school book, from every possible angle.

Rachel Kogan – Artist painter 1912-1998 | Photo: Rachel Kogan website


Upon arriving in Israel, he was bored with children’s books and found his intellectual and artistic stimulation in true war stories of Israeli army heroes who had fought off the invading Arab enemy.  In Tel Aviv, he stumbled across Rachel Kogan, a Russian-Israeli art teacher who had been professor of art at the Academy of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg and upon leaving school soon had a scholarship to Bezalel, Israel’s most prestigious art academy. What followed, was a series of animated movies that brought him astonishing success, including “Waltz with Bashir” which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The quiet and talented Polonsky has gifted Israel with a string of successful animated feature films for adults, but it is his Legend of Destruction that has hit home, creating soul searching in the modern society and a reborn hope for the building of the Temple.

About the Author