Shin Bet and the problem of evil. We are entering a new aesthetic of film where the old cops and robbers dramas as been transformed into the realm of national security and law enforcement is elevated to what used to be called the men and women in grey protecting the nation. John Wayne in The Searchers is now fighting for national security.The success of Homeland is also an example of this globalization of the detective realm. In the Gatekeepers, we have a made in israel version of the Fog of War; there is a strong Left bias here, questions on the innate core goodness of the individual, humanism, human rights from a legalistic internationalist perspective and the basic Israeli inferiority complex and need to please by making concessions. But is is a sort of reality, and as Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty showed that terrorists are real,and there is a way to be realistic about stopping terror. …

---Yaakov Peri ran Shin Bet from 1988 – 1994. He was there during the first Intifada and Oslo. "I think after retiring from this job you become a bit of a leftist," he said.   He and others interviewed aren't doves. While critical of occupation harshness, they're largely mindless about Palestinian suffering. Only Israel's future matters. It prompted them to speak out.   Avraham Shalom headed Shin Bet from 1981 – 1986. He resigned after being accused of ordering two Palestinian prisoners killed and orchestrating a subsequent cover-up.---click image for source...

—Yaakov Peri ran Shin Bet from 1988 – 1994. He was there during the first Intifada and Oslo. “I think after retiring from this job you become a bit of a leftist,” he said.
He and others interviewed aren’t doves. While critical of occupation harshness, they’re largely mindless about Palestinian suffering. Only Israel’s future matters. It prompted them to speak out.
Avraham Shalom headed Shin Bet from 1981 – 1986. He resigned after being accused of ordering two Palestinian prisoners killed and orchestrating a subsequent cover-up.—click image for source…

(see link at end)…The most senior of them, who believes that the future is “bleak,” ends by lamenting that the nation’s army is now “a brutal occupation force that is similar to the Germans in World War II.” In other words, this is one hot, provocative, revelatory and astonishing documentary, one sure to provoke enthralled interest and controversy wherever it is shown worldwide. After initial festival exposure at Telluride, Toronto and New York, Sony Classics will release the film in the United States next year.

Given that the agency’s motto is “The Unseen Shield” and that its only publicly known member at any given moment is its director, of whom there have 13 over the course of Israel’s history, one immediate question is: How is it that all these men jointly decided to spill the beans about so much concerning the organization’s operations and methods? A likely answer is that they are alarmed about where things are headed. It’s probably no coincidence that four of them — Ami Ayalon, Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri and Carmi Gillon — jointly gave an interview in 2003 warning of “catastrophe” unless a two-state solution to the Palestinian issue was implemented, as the inevitable alternative would be a form of apartheid. They’re no happier today.

Cinematographer-turned-director Dror Moreh leaves such sentiments for the very end, as he uses the frank and informed views of his seen-it-all participants to assemble a riveting history of a singular organization. Criticized for borderline torture techniques at times and blamed for not preventing the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, the Shin Bet, ideological issues aside, seems overall to have done an impressive job, especially given that it serves a democracy, of obtaining information and thwarting what is estimated as 90 per cent of attempted terrorist attacks under circumstances as challenging as any in the world. Read More:

The is a connection, a link to be drawn with Kafka’s the Gatekeeper, where the gatekeeper also waits, and allows the man to continue waiting as well, but not permitting him to pass through the gate. The man eventually begins dying and wonders if he is the only person seeking the Law. The response of the gatekeeper is that the entrance he guards was only meant for him and since he is dying, the gatekeeper can now close it. …K then engages the priest that has related this tale to him, and they begin an argument concerning the meaning of the story….As a final word, Kafka has K assert that the Law is not real, it is a lie. Like all the rules and regulations that make up the Occupation. For K it is a near  existential conclusion…

The film also harks to Maimonides and the problem of evil; ironic that Zionist atheists could even skirt the issue of a soul residing in a body, But the soul, when accustomed to the superfluous, like senseless beatings and torture,  acquires a strong habit of desiring these things which are neither necessary for the preservation of the individual nor for that of the security of the citizens of Israel. This desire is almost without limit as Nazi Germany showed and Stalin’s Gulags. By comparison, things which are necessary are rare and countable in number and limited within certain parameters. But what is superfluous is endless…


(see link at end)…Mr. Shalom, born in Vienna in 1928 and a veteran of the 1948 War of Independence, comes across as a wise and gentle old man, though he is recalled by others as a bully and monster. He is at once a steadfast defender of Shin Bet’s tactics and an eloquent critic of a political leadership, which was unable, as Labor and Likud traded power and the country lurched from crisis to crisis, to summon the strategic vision or the moral courage necessary to bring about a lasting solution to its problems. “The future is very dark,” he concludes, lamenting the cruelty and intransigence that he sees as the legacies of more than four decades of occupation.

He is not alone in his pessimism, which is perhaps the dominant mood of Mr. Moreh’s film. The director, somewhat in the manner of Errol Morris, is an unseen and mostly unheard inquisitor, occasionally shouting a question from outside the frame or prodding his subjects when they seem coy or confused, and allowing a series of vivid portraits to emerge. The audience is absorbing a collective history but also coming to know a collection of complicated, thoughtful human beings, who are willing to share not only their war stories, but also their doubts, qualms and conflicted emotions.Read More:


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