13 Days

13 Days

13 Days is a period scripted feature film project about a tragic love story that happens on the eve of the formation of the state of Israel in 1947-48.

It is an anti-war story in which our protagonist, a young British member of the Royal Engineers, Sgt. John Craig, chooses to help the Israeli Jews in their fight against the surrounding Arab nations. The soldier also makes friends with a young Arab, who he seeks to help. Both well-meant decisions have tragic consequences.

In this story Craig represents us – the rest of the world – that tries to help fix an almost intractable situation that we do not fully understand.

13 Days is a novel that was first published in 1959 and became an immediate international bestseller.

Unusual for its time, the book’s narrator and reluctant protagonist John Craig is less heroic than the woman he falls for: Ola is a fiery Canadian Jew who has come to Palestine to fight for the Zionist cause.

The book was named the number two novel of the year by Observer Magazine and positively reviewed by Israel’s premier, Ben Gurion. Prominent Hollywood film producer Alan Ladd Jr. was in talks to option 13 Days as a film, but a new conflict sprang up on Israel’s borders and the project missed its moment.

Ian Jefferies is the pen name of Dr. Peter Hays, who was Peter Hays’ father. Dr. Hays died in 2016 and his estate is held by his widow, Nafees Aidroos Hays. Nafees has signed over the option for 13 Days to Tangerine Productions Ltd.

The Project

Today’s tragic war in Gaza has its direct origins in the events of 1947-8. And all these tumultuous decades later, nothing has been settled in the struggle between Jews and Arabs over the Holy Land.

Many of Israel’s modern critics are unaware of how vulnerable the Jews were in Palestine in 1947. The British Mandate was expiring, civil war loomed, and few observers expected the Jews to win a war against the combined might of the surrounding Arab armies.

Jerusalem was occupied by Jews and surrounded by Arab forces. Jewish freedom fighters were running guns and supplies up a mountain road to support the besieged town. The events in 13 Days happen at this moment.

This film project offers a fresh opportunity to show the worldwide audience how Jews created their own state after the horrors of the Holocaust. It also shines a light on how the creation of the state of Israel affected the Arabs who had co-existed with Jews in Palestine since before the time of Christ.

The arid prairie of south-east Alberta is the ideal location for filming 13 Days. Indeed, given the antisemitism now so prevalent in the Middle East and North Africa, Alberta may be the best place in the world for this story to be filmed securely.

Jews and their allies, supporters of Palestinians and anyone hungry for greater clarity about the history of Palestine and Israel, will stream the film 13 Days wherever they live. The film will also be popular with anyone who enjoys a ripping yarn of hot danger and blazing love.

The development phase currently underway will produce a polished script, schedule, budget and financing scenario required to make the feature film on location in southern Alberta and in sound stages in Calgary.

Danger and Love

13 Days is a tale of danger and love set in Palestine in 1947, at a time when the battle lines that endure to this day were being drawn between the Jews and Arabs.

Our narrator and reluctant hero John Craig is a young British soldier with the Royal Engineers. His position gives him access to vast stocks of surplus British ammunition left over from World War II. Affected by the horrors of the Holocaust he witnessed at Belsen, Craig decides to run guns to the Jews ‘to even things out.’ And then he meets Ola.

At this time Jews from all over the world are flocking to Palestine to help build a new Jewish nation that would be called ‘Israel’ by the United Nations in 1948. Ola has come from Montreal and is joining the convoys of Yehudi fighters running supplies up the Bab El-Wad to Jerusalem, a kibbutz that besieged by Arab armies.

Craig befriends a young Arab, Nazim, and learns more about the complexity of two cultures at odds over the same small piece of what has been called the Holy Land.

Craig can’t help fall for Ola, who is beautiful and courageous. He wants her to leave her dangerous work so they can be together. But for Ola, fighting for Israel is more important than love. She decides to drive one last convoy before they can escape forever.

Meanwhile Craig also pledged his support to Nazim. In the end Craig’s effort to help Ola and Nazim kills them both. He leaves Palestine/Israel with a sense that whatever he does to help will be ultimately futile.


TPL has secured permission to shoot the exterior scenes of 13 Days at a beautiful pristine prairie ranch in southeast Alberta. This location looks a lot like Palestine did in 1947 – dry, open and arid. By contrast, all the land that was empty in this part of Israel has since been filled with homes and farms.

The production value of this prime location with access exclusive to TPL cannot be overstated.

The Project

Ian Jefferies is the pen name of Dr. Peter Hays.

Dr. Peter Hays was born in the outskirts of London in 1927. As a boy he was shipped to the countryside to escape the Blitz.

In 1944 he volunteered for the Royal Engineers to avoid being drafted into the Infantry. After basic training he was shipped to Palestine.

He saw the desperate situation the Jews were in and decided to supply them with surplus British guns. 13 Days is a fictionalized account of what happened next.

Dr. Hays wrote two more John Craig novels, Dignity and Purity and It Wasn’t Me. These titles were also released as Penguin paperbacks.

In 1967 the Hays family moved to Edmonton, Alberta where Dr. Hays became a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta. The Hays children, including TPL owner Peter Hays (Dr. Hays’ first-born son) grew up in Alberta. His wife Dr. Helen Hays became the first Canadian palliative care doctor outside Toronto.

He retired to Sooke B.C. with his second wife Nafees and their son Luke.

Dr. Peter Hays died while enjoying a nap in his favourite reading chair after lunch, at the age of 88.

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