This is a Hebrew language documentary about Israel’s secret intelligence agency. Despite the subject matter, there isn’t much in the way of action or violence; it’s largely talking head descriptive interviews. While there is no language and few violent images, the adult subject matter is neither of interest nor appropriate for kids.
Charged with overseeing Israel’s war on terror – both Palestinian and Jewish – the head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service is present at the crossroad of every decision made. For the first time ever six former heads of the agency agreed to share their insights and reflect publicly on their actions and decisions for an exclusive account of the sum of their success and failures. It validates the reasons that each man individually and the six as a group came to reconsider their hard-line positions and advocate a conciliatory approach toward their enemies based on a two-state solution.
In The Gatekeepers, I go to the heads of the Shin Bet, the people with the power to shape history from behind the scenes. Living in the shadows, they have never spoken about their work in front of a camera before.
The idea to do this movie came to me while I was working on my previous film, Sharon. From my discussions with the prime minister’s innermost circle of advisors, I learned how the critique of some of these Gatekeepers influenced Sharon’s decision to disengage from Gaza.
I went to each of the Gatekeepers and asked them to tell me their life stories. I wanted them to share their unique perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict. I was startled, but also thrilled, when they agreed. This gave me an unprecedented, intimate opportunity to enter the inner sanctum of the people who have steered Israel’s decision-making process for almost half a century.
The Gatekeepers were generous with their time and information. Some were better storytellers than others, but they each had a story to tell in their own distinct voices. They were there at all the most important junctions in the history of the State of Israel since the Six Day War.
Day after day, while interviewing them, I found myself staring in disbelief at these anonymous soldiers. Their stories and testimonies were often overwhelming. I couldn’t help but ask asking myself how far I would have gone if confronted with the same life-or-death dilemmas that they dealt with on a day-to-day basis. I still do.
No one understands the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians better than these six men. When they speak, leaders listen. Perhaps the time has come for the Gatekeepers to address the people at large, and not just the inner circles of decision-makers. I hope this film initiates that dialogue. – Dror Moreh
Related Link: View the Full Production Notes for The Gatekeepers