The Gatekeepers

The Gatekeepers Information

The Gatekeepers (Hebrew: ?"???? "???) is a 2012 documentary film by director Dror Moreh that tells the story of the Israeli Shin Bet from the perspective of six former heads of Israel's secretive internal security service.

The film combines in-depth interviews with archival footage and computer animation to recount the role that the group played in Israel's security from the Six-Day War to the present. The film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards.


Moreh explains in interviews that he was inspired to make the film after watching Errol Morris's Academy Award-winning documentary The Fog of War. Having just completed a film about former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, he came to realize the decisive role that the Shin Bet had played behind the scenes for the past forty years.

The problem, according to Moreh, was getting the "Gatekeepers", or former heads of the Shin Bet, to agree to appear on camera and discuss their work and opinions. Given the secretive nature of the organization, none of them had ever done this before, and many of the topics he hoped to discuss with them were either classified or highly sensitive.

Despite this initial difficulty, Moreh contacted one of the "Gatekeepers", Ami Ayalon, who had since been elected to the Knesset for the Labor Party and was serving as a Minister without Portfolio in the Security Cabinet. Much to his surprise, Ayalon 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 at the time.

Though all the men agreed to participate, some were reluctant initially to discuss various incidents associated with their careers. Shalom, for instance, did not want to discuss his role in the hijacking of the 300 bus and summary execution of two of the terrorists, though the ensuing scandal ultimately led to his resignation. Over time, however, and with careful prodding, he agreed to discuss even that, and it now features as one of the film's seven segments.


The film consists of seven segments:

  • No Strategy, Just Tactics " covering the emerging role of the Shin Bet from the Six-Day War and the occupation of the Palestinian territories
  • Forget About Morality " about the Bus 300 affair
  • One Man's Terrorist Is Another Man's Freedom Fighter " about the peace process following the Oslo Accords
  • Our Own Flesh and Blood " about Jewish terrorism, including the Jewish Underground and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
  • Victory Is to See You Suffer " about negotiations with the Palestinians during the Second Intifada
  • Collateral Damage " about the assassination of Yahya Ayyash and other prominent Hamas militants
  • The Old Man at the End of the Corridor " consisting of reflections on the activities of the Shin Bet and their ethical and strategic impact on the State of Israel
Though the film follows a loose chronological order, each of these segments also delves into topics such as the controversy surrounding collateral damage, the efficacy of torture, and the morality of targeted assassination.

The events described in the film are illustrated with archival footage and computer-generated imagery that brings historic photographs to life. An example of this is the computer-generated reenactment of the 300 bus incident, based on photographs and eyewitness accounts. The film's computer animations were created by the French company Mac Guff.

Release and reception

Three years in production, the film was first released at the Jerusalem Film Festival in the presence of the Gatekeepers themselves. In North America, it was released on 31 August 2012 by Sony Picture Classics at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado in the presence of Errol Morris, and a week later (6 September 2012) at the Toronto International Film Festival. It also screened at the New York Film Festival. Its first screening in Europe took place at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. In addition to a one-week release to make it eligible for the Academy Awards, wider The Gatekeepers theatrical release in North America began on 1 February 2013.

Despite its limited release, the film has garnered substantial attention from film critics. The New York Times critic A. O. Scott called the film the best documentary of 2012, deeming it "essential, eye-opening viewing if you think you understand the Middle East", while Times critic Manohla Dargis named it one of the top ten movies of the year. Joe Morgenstern, film critic for the Wall Street Journal, called The Gatekeepers one of the 10 best films of 2012. The film, notes Morgenstern, "brings together all the surviving directors of Shin Bet, Israel's internal security agency. What these tough and tough-minded men have to say about Israeli politicians, and the nation's current stance vis vis its enemies, is stunning and edifying in equal measure". The film went on to receive the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Documentary Film and was named the Best Nonfiction Film of 2012 by the National Society of Film Critics. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Gatekeepers_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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