The Gatekeepers

2012

Documentary / History / War

150
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 5,205

Synopsis


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June 8, 2019

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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
862.27 MB
1280*720
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
101 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.62 GB
1920√ó1080
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
101 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ruben-154 9 / 10 / 10

Unique insight into the Shin Bet

In this documentary the film maker interviews six former heads of the Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence service. The interviews paint a picture of the security situation Israel is facing and the decisions it has made in its conflict with the Palestinians. I was surprised to see that these former Shin Bet heads had a much more nuanced view of the conflict than I expected. Of course, they have been defending Israel and they are still Israeli citizens and they still stand behind decisions that they have made and that have cost Palestinian lives. In that sense they are "pro-Israel". On the other hand some of them openly discussed the possibility of a Palestinian state, they spoke of Palestinians in a much more humane way than many Israeli's do and they were openly critical of Israel's security policy in the past decades, both from a human and from a professional, security perspective. One of the interviewees for example said that one people's terrorist is the other people's freedom fighter, which is not only very true, but it also shows that these people, through their history in Shin Bet have attained a different way of looking at the conflict. I found that a very surprising and interesting aspect of the movie. I saw the film at the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA). The maker of the movie was present at the screening and he took questions from the audience after the screening. There was one Israeli woman in the audience that condemned the maker of being anti-Israeli and painting a too positive picture of the Palestinians and right after that there was a Dutch man in the audience accusing the maker of painting a too pro-Israeli picture. It just shows the incredible sensitivity around the subject. I myself was wondering "which side is he on" when the movie started. The movie however doesn't really show the views of the film maker, but the views of the former heads of Shin Bet, which is an entirely new perspective, because most movies about this conflict are created from a certain political standpoint. I think the maker has done a very good job at getting these six important people to participate in his documentary, because the views of these people are important and hard to ignore. It is not a movie that was inspired by right-wing or left-wing sentiments, it was an unbiased movie that shows the views of the six people that were on the forefront of this war for many years. I am very surprised to see what the reactions to this movie will be in Israel. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reviewed by howard.schumann 10 / 10 / 10

Remarkable

You would normally bet that the chances of six former directors of the Israel Internal Security Service known as Shabak or, in English, Shin Bet becoming left-leaning proponents of a peaceful solution with the Palestinians would be about as likely as Dick Cheney becoming a political consultant for MSNBC. Yet, as depicted in Dror Moreh's powerful and disturbing documentary The Gatekeepers, this is exactly what happened. The film, one of five Oscar-nominated films for Best Documentary, consists of interviews by the director with Shin Bet spokesmen: Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri, Carmi Gillon, Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter, and Yuval Diskin, interspersed with newsreel footage and CGI graphical recreation of the seemingly endless conflict since 1967. Moreh asks tough questions and does not let his subjects off the hook, but there is no need to. The men are forthcoming in their candid assessment of the role they played in the Shin Bet operations which included the recruitment and use of informers, the targeting and drone attacks on suspected terrorists (sound familiar?), use of brutal torture techniques, and controlling the threat of Jewish extremists, a threat that became reality when a right-wing opponent of the Oslo peace agreements shot and killed the architect of those agreements, Nobel Peace prize winner Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin. Two horrific events are dramatized: the assassination of Palestinian terrorist Yahya Ayyash by planting an explosive device in his cell phone, and the skull bashing of two Palestinian terrorists involved in a bus hijacking after they had been subdued and captured, an action that led to the resignations by the Prime Minister and the then head of the Shin Bet. To their credit, however, the security agency called off dropping a bomb on a house filled with Hamas leaders because of the possibility of widespread collateral damage. The men were hardliners to begin with, but each, who has had to deal with the problem first-hand, has come to see the futility of an occupation that seems to lead only to an endless cycle of brutality on both sides. They insist that continuing to talk with the Palestinians is the only option left and that anything else is a dead end street. Though they favor a two-state solution, they recognize that the opposition to dismantling the settlements might cause a civil war. If you are wondering how the six could have reached the same conclusions, Ami Ayalon tells us that "The six of us reached our opinions from different personal backgrounds and different political outlooks, but we've all reached the same conclusion. Many Israelis and American Jews want to deny it, but this is our professional opinion. We're at the edge of an abyss, and if Israeli-Palestinian peace doesn't progress, it's the end of Zionism." Though these men are patriots who believed they were doing the right thing for their country and still believe that a great number of Jewish lives were saved by their actions, they also acknowledge their struggle with the moral dimensions of the job, the thin line between taking a life and saving a life. Shalom's comments are telling, "We have become cruel to ourselves but mainly to the occupation," he says. "We paid a horrible price for our military successes. We are isolated completely from our neighbors, we cannot go anywhere. We are a thorn in the side of the region." According to Ayalon, "The tragedy of Israel's public security debate is that we don't realize that we face a frustrating situation, in which "we win every battle, but we lose the war." The Gatekeepers shows a side of the Israel-Palestinian conflict that we have not seen before and, considering the ultra-secret nature of the counter-terrorist organization, it is remarkable that Moreh was even able to conduct the interviews. Yet the impact of the film has yet to make much of a difference. In his speech prepared for delivery at the Oscars in event the film won the award for Best Documentary, Moreh said, "We pray that it (the film) will echo in the corridors of power in Washington, Berlin, Paris, London, and especially in Jerusalem and Ramallah." To this date, the only echo heard is the sound of doors being closed.

Reviewed by [email†protected] 10 / 10 / 10

An important film

Like it or not--and some will despise it--"The Gatekeepers" is MUST SEE for anyone concerned about Israel's future. While it is true, as one reviewer has pointed out, that excerpts from the interviews with six former heads of Shin Bet, Israel's spy agency, have been assembled and, therefore, shaped by the director, what emerges is nevertheless astounding. To be sure there are significant differences of opinion on some issues -- like the efficacy of targeted assassinations, for example--and those differences have been obscured in some reviews of this documentary. But what unites the six is a good deal more significant than what divides them. They all regard the occupation as a disaster. They are all pessimistic about the future. They have contempt for most of Israel's politicians, who, they say, are consumed by tactical considerations but have no strategy. To a man, they want peace and see it slipping away. To a man they blame settlers and extremist rabbis, together with the politicians who have enabled them. (Only Yitzhak Rabin is admired by any of the six.) Yes, it's depressing. But reality is often depressing, and this is a necessary dose of reality from men who have spent their lifetimes in Israel's service.

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