Friday, March 15, 2013


A history of the State of Israel and its relationships with its enemies externally and internally - as seen through the eyes of 6 of the country’s “Gatekeepers” – the SHIN BET – Israel’s Secret Service. Its motto is “Defender that shall not be seen” or "The Unseen Shield." Their job was to monitor activities in The West Bank and Gaza and to fight terrorism. The Director of this documentary, Dror Moreh interviewed the various Heads of Shin Bet  and according to Wikipedia in order to get access to them - Moreh contacted one of the “Gatekeepers”, Ami Ayalon, who not only agreed to participate, he also helped Moreh contact the other surviving former heads of the Shin Bet: Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri, Carmi Gillon, and Avi Dichter. The sixth participant in the film, Yuval Diskin, was still serving as head of the Shin Bet around 201l, but resigned shortly thereafter.

What was most astonishing was the candor of these men – their hardness and ruthlessness were often evident, as well as ethical reservations as to the value of their methods. Some were more philosophical – others were more prosaic. BUT today - they all agreed that muscle and brute power enforcing “order” by an occupying power was not a feasible solution to the Israeli crisis and could not continue. What was needed were talks to come to a two-state solution. Yuval Diskin the last head of Shin Bet, and an ultimate insider, talking to the the director Moreh  stated: “When I look at Netanyahu, I don’t see a shred of personal example as a leader in him,” Mr. Diskin said in the interview, which ran more than 5,000 words in the weekend edition of Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s leading newspaper. “There is a leadership crisis. It’s a crisis of value, it is total disregard for the public. People may think that I see this in an overly extreme manner. I am telling you that from up close, things look even worse.”  More of that interview can be read in The NY Times at this link:

This documentary also injects photos and newsreels of strategic events that changed the tide of history in the Middle East. One of those events led to the resignation of Carmi Gillion one of the  Gatekeepers after the assassination of Yitzak Rabin by a right wing Israeli “radical. The six commentators all speak about how their actions – some of which they found immoral, are wrenching personally but tactically necessary, though not the solution for long term strategy. Each individual was very different – all were quite articulate and intelligent – you see how being the Directors of Shin Bet involved the need to oversee the security of your country, but tragically can backfire through the methods used. If you see the film you will be stunned at what is said and unsaid and then with time re-evaluated and said again with hindsight. "You knock on doors in the middle of the night, these moments end up etched deep inside you," says Yaakov Peri. "When you retire, you become a bit of a leftist."

Ami Ayalon stated it best: “We win every battle but lose the war.”

No comments:

Post a Comment