In The Gatekeepers, all six surviving former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s secretive counter-terrorist agency, reflect on the actions they took and the lessons they learned in their often-controversial struggle for domestic security. Never before have these powerful men discussed their time in Shin Bet, and their commentary is eye-opening. Working closely with the Israeli prime minister, these men were responsible for responding to all matters related to security. Their insights helped to shape Israeli policy for years, and will continue to shape it for years to come. This documentary follows the Shin Bet leaders’ greatest successes and worst failures, and in the process paints a vivid history of Israel from its decisive victory in the Six Day War of 1967 to its political turbulence in the present day.
Through a mix of interviews and period footage, The Gatekeepers opens a window into the conflicted, troubled, yet strongly-resolute minds behind Israel’s security policies. “We wanted security, but got more terrorism,” reflects Ami Ayalon (1996-2000). Although the six men are wildly different, they shared the same goals and now face the same agonizing remorse. “The power to take lives in an instant, there’s something unnatural about it,” says Yuval Diskin (2005-11). But in “the war against terror, forget about morality,” insists Avraham Shalom (1981-86). “Find morals in terrorists first,” he adds. The Gatekeepers’ candid examination of these men’s difficult decisions may just change the way you view the world.
Written and directed by Dror Moreh, this Sony Pictures Classics documentary will see a limited release in Los Angeles and New York on February 1, 2013. Rated PG-13 for violent content, including disturbing images.