Going to the movies is fun, but it’s rarely the case that you can say it’s important. Today, I saw Director Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers and it was important.
This excellent documentary focuses on the six men, who have run Israel’s secret intelligence service, the Shin Bet, for the last 30 years.
Why have men, who have had the say on whether or not a terrorist should be killed and most of whom have been responsible for the collateral deaths of innocents during attacks launched under their direction, now appear on camera and allow their stories to be told?
The answer is that, despite their conservative backgrounds, the wisdom of older age and experience has shown them that it is extremists in Israel, who are just as responsible as the Arab extremists for the ongoing war in the Middle East. What’s more, they agree that peace is only possible if Israeli and Palestinian leaders enter into dialogue. And, that means all factions, including Hamas, Iran, anyone.
Seeing footage of some of the key incidents that occurred in Israel and Palestine over the past 30 years, some of which would make one hate these men, countered with their look and attitude of today, makes one believe in redemption and gives a hope for the possibility of peace…someday. None of them think something like that is going to happen overnight, but they all agree the dialogue must begin today because they also agree that Israel can win every battle, but will lose the war.
How is that possible? Because, from the outset, the focus has been and still is on tactics, not strategy.
I had a chance to speak to Dror Moreh after the screening and asked him about the reception to the film in Israel. He said it opened in two small theaters in early January, then quickly moved to seven and is, now, in fifteen, including the multi-plexes that have never before shown a documentary. And, it’s setting attendance records.
Unfortunately, The Gatekeepers has only opened in one New York theater this week, but I hope it will expand its distribution in the weeks ahead. I ask you to please see it to help make that happen.
The Gatekeepers is up for an Academy Award. It deserves it for subject matter alone. I give it a 4+ out of 5.