The Gatekeepers: Not Open or Shut—Movie

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” “The Gatekeepers” offers up many pithy quotes, but this one resonated with me and pretty much sums up the hopelessness one feels at the end of this brilliant film.

For this documentary, director Dror Moreh interviewed the six former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency…its version of the CIA. Each one of the men, during his term in office, was charged with, among other issues, keeping the ever-changing Israeli-Palestinian borders safe.The Gatekeepers1

When you watch this film, you keep asking yourself, “Who are the good guys?” The answer is, “No one.” None of the former Shin Bet heads seem happy with their tenure…resigned is the word that comes to mind. As one puts it, “We’ve become cruel.” None of them think the occupation is a success and aside from Yitzhak Rabin, they view most politicians with contempt.

You feel the hope the men had, when in 1993, the Oslo Accords were signed by Rabin and Yasser Arafat, leader of the PLO. It was a turning point in Arab-Israeli relations and forced both sides to come to terms with the existence of the other. However, those hopes for permanent peace were dashed with the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, and nothing has been the same since.

The term, “thought-provoking,” is used so often that it’s almost a cliché. However, thought-provoking is exactly what “The Gatekeepers” is. It should be mandatory viewing for anyone contemplating a career in foreign service.

4 nuggets out of 4


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