What You Need To Know:
The point of THE GATEKEEPERS is that what Shin Bet was doing was often not moral; while asking, Can you be moral in the midst of a perpetual war? This is an interesting question, but THE GATEKEEPERS could have answered it in 30 minutes as opposed to 100.
(BB, VV, N, D, M) Strong moral worldview looking at the years of the highest intelligence agency on Israel and how far they should go in fighting terrorism, some mention of Muslims, but not positively, overlooking, as usual, the Palestinian Christians, which are a significant portion of the population; no discernible foul language; lots of documentary footage of violence and discussions of violence, with some bloody images, including the Six Day War in 1967, strategic assassinations, the Lebanese war, bus bombings, and many acts of terrorism as well as torture; no sex; some upper male nudity; no alcohol use; some smoking; and, some anti-conservative Jewish views expressed and some liberal views.
THE GATEKEEPERS is a documentary from Israel. It tells the story of the highest, fiercest Israeli intelligence agency, Shin Bet, which took over the top role from Mossad after the 1967 Six Day War.
The director interviews eight of the leaders of Shin Bet over the years. Some of it is absolutely fascinating, but much of it is very slow and repetitious. The interviewer, who’s off camera but can be heard, keeps asking moral questions, such as, “Was it moral to shake this guy’s head so that he died?” And, “Was it moral to drop a one-ton bomb on a house to kill a terrorist leader and cause collateral damages to women and children in the neighborhood?”
By the end of the movie, the picture emerges that the constant fear of terrorism and the displaced Palestinian population of more than one million people has caused Israel, especially the Israeli intelligence corps, to become cruel. Many of the former leaders say that, when they retire, they move to the left, because of the nightmarish memories of what they had to do to protect the state and the civilian population. On the positive side of the equation, however, they estimate that they stopped an incredible 90 percent of the terrorist attacks.
Interestingly, in the 1990s, radical conservative rabbis and other Jewish leaders started to plot their own acts of terrorism, including planting bombs on Palestinian buses and even destroying the Dome of the Rock to usher in the age of the Messiah. The leaders of Shin Bet are not in favor of the radical so-called “right wing” rabbis, though many Christian leaders, who lived through that period, believed that the conservative Jewish religious leaders were sometimes correct in their analysis.
At any rate, the point of the movie is that what Shin Bet was doing was all too often not moral. Can you be moral in the midst of a perpetual war? This is an interesting question, but THE GATEKEEPERS could have answered it in a half hour as opposed to nearly two hours.