Tag: The Gatekeepers

The Gatekeepers

February 17th, 2013 — 9:31pm


The Gatekeepers-rmgatekeepers-poster

This film by Director Dror Moreh is one of five films featured documentaries  nominated for an Oscar in 2012.  It is mostly talking heads interviews with the last 6 Directors of the Shin Bet which is the secret Israeli security agency and has a motto, Defender that shall not be seen. This is a highly secret agency in which only the names of the leaders are known. As we initially watched this film unfold it seemed that it might be a propaganda piece to support Israel’s actions in regard to the Palestinians. To the contrary, it turned out to be a serious but insightful  discussion of the seemingly endless and at times hopeless conflict between the Israel government and the discontented Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. Each of the subjects of the film were past Directors of Shin Bet and had the responsibility for the internal security of Israel. They made life and death decisions, developed highly sophisticated and intricate data gathering operations through human resources and high tech equipment. Once it became clear the Palestinians were conducting deadly terrorists activities heralded by blowing up a bus and killing numerous innocent people, Shin Bet conducted thousands of heavy duty interrogations and carried out assassinations of known Arab terrorists. The film showed via a camera in the sky, following a vehicle known to contain a confirmed important terrorist leader and possibly some other people. The decision process and ultimately the dropping of a bomb on that vehicle was shown from the aerial view. Another story that was told was the successful murder of a notorious terrorist by the use of a cell phone with an explosive device in it. Footage was also shown of the incident where Shin Bet captured Israeli right wing fanatics who were intent on blowing up the Temple on the Mount (the main point of Arab worship in Jerusalem) after being encouraged by some orthodox rabbis. The complicated Israeli politics were demonstrated as many of these people were ultimately released without punishment. On the other hand, the persistent desire of the Palestinians to make Israel suffer was clearly shown and the absence of any desire by them to accept the existence of Israel is well known. The one man who might have stood a chance of somehow forging a solution to this seemingly unsolvable dilemma, Yitzak Rabin, was himself assassinated by a right wing Israeli much to the dismay of Shin Bet who had the responsibility of protecting Rabin. The most surprising message that we gleamed from this fascinating film is that just about each of these patriotic leaders of Shin Bet seemed to feel that no matter what the terrorists continue to do, the Israeli government should continue to try to talk to their leaders. They seem to say this at the same time, as it is clear that the next series of Shin Bet leaders will carry out their tasks with dedication and at time deadly precision. We have no idea how director Dror Moreh convinced these men of secrets to share their experience and views but the result is an unusual and revealing documentary film. (2012)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Documentary, Foreign

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