By William Wolf

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2012--THE GATEKEEPERS  Send This Review to a Friend

A rare look into the process of Israel’s undercover operations is provided in “The Gatekeepers,” directed by Dror Moreh. In fact, this is also a remarkable documentary in that such information is rarely disclosed by officials of any country. Here you have six former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s Secret Service, talking candidly about operations and giving opinions relative to the country’s political situations as well.

This is not a film about low-level critics of policy. These are once top guys—or put another way, top spies--who know the ins and outs of what happened during their respective tenures. They are Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri, Carmi Gillon, Avi Dichter, Ami Ayalon and Yuval Diskin. They are men of different temperaments and demeanors, and each gets a chance to speak, both freely and holding back.

They may not give details of an operation, but it is clear that some of what was ordered resulted in the deaths of targeted terrorists. There is alsoa measure of candor about interrogation methods. One controversial event was the killing of two suspects in the hijacking of a bus in in 1984. In fact, one of those interviewed, Avraham Shalom, had to resign as Shin Bet leader as a result of the uproar.

Successes and failures are discussed, as is the quest for peace and the problem of the West Bank settlements. The comments are spellbinding for their import, and one comes away from the film better informed and also pondering the complications of maintaining security in relation to morality, the political process and the future of Israel and the Palestinians. A Sony Pictures Classics release.


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