Aviva Marks

For Marks, making Aliya and arriving in Jerusalem was like coming home

Although Aviva Marks was born in England, she has a longstanding attachment to the land of Israel – her father was part to an old time Jerusalem family, and her mother’s family also has roots in the city. Aviva herself was a Zionist and a member of the “Hashomer Hatza’ir” youth movement.  She came to Israel for six months when she was 17 for a youth movement seminar and then returned to England to continue her Zionist work as a youth counselor. At the same time she began to follow her dream and enrolled in the Royal Academy of Drama, one of the most prestigious acting schools .in the world. During the next few years, Marks performed on stages around the world, including in Israel

After the Six Day War, Marks made Aliya and settled in Israel, despite the difficulties in finding roles because of her accent and the competition. She started working in theaters in Israel and began acting in films. One of her first movies was “Is Tel Aviv Burning?” (also known as “Sixty Hours to Suez”), whose plot centers around the Six Day War. The movie was filmed in battle sites that had been unreachable before the war.

For Marks, making Aliya and arriving in Jerusalem was like coming home, she felt a belonging in Israel that she never felt in England. In every film she appeared in, at least one scene was shot in Jerusalem, and when she came to the Old City for filming and soldiers asked to take a photo with her, she felt honored to agree.  When she came to Jerusalem, Marks looked for a specific place, an orphanage in the Old City. At the beginning of the 20th century Aviva Marks’ grandfather wanted to make a donation to support an orphan child.  He came to the orphanage and met a young girl, Sarah Leah. That girl eventually became his wife, Aviva Marks’ grandmother. Marks was excited to find that the orphanage’s book of names survived, and her grandmother’s name was in it.

A few years after Marks made Aliya, successful and famous, she convinced her mother to visit Israel, and took her to the Western Wall, whose new plaza was already built. Her mother did not settle in Israel, but her nieces followed her and made Aliya.