The gatekeepers

DVD - 2013 - Hebrew
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The gatekeepers
A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets.

Published: Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2013]
Branch Call Number: DVD 323.1192 GAT
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (101 min.) :,sd., col. ;,4 3/4 in.


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Jan 14, 2015
  • elizabethjuliette rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This film presents an unusual opportunity to hear from 6 heads of the military intelligence unit. It was striking to hear the perspectives of those who saw the humanity on both sides of this very difficult equation of the West Bank and Israel, and of Israel and the Middle East. There is no doubt of the dedication these men have to their jobs and they are able to see the problems faced by them and their nation from many angles; their analytical abilities were not rigidly dogmatic, but realistic, as might be expected and it was refreshing. There were dreadful mistakes but it at least helped that they were regretted and acknowledged. The open debate and questioning about what kind of people and state Israel wants to become differs from many other countries and a quality to be appreciated.

Israel has navigated difficult shoals and they aren't going to improve due to the political climate in the neighbouring countries as well as the chasms between peoples' beliefs within Israel. That they have done as well as they have, considering the threats, some of which are talked of in this film, is amazing. A unique people.

Oct 06, 2014
  • kurasawa1 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A really important film highly recommended for a better understanding or war, military

Jul 27, 2014
  • snowish rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Watch this documentary if you want to learn about threats Israel faces every day. There is a great piece on collateral damage, which Palestinian leadership so loves. The angle is very pro-Palestinian though. Suicide bombings are only mentioned in passing, but the movie spends 15+ minutes on the orthodox Jewish plot to blow up Dome of Rock. You get the feeling who's the bad guy here right from the start.

Mar 19, 2014
  • ido__ido rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I was very disappointed by this documentary. You learn about the regrets of a bunch of old men "we could have done this or that" and blaming the politicians for the actual situation. I don't like the way the interviewer ask his questions by putting words in their mouths.

Mar 17, 2014
  • 0cho rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very interesting documentary. If you are interested in this subject, it’s a must watch.

Feb 20, 2014
  • jonathanhowells rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.


Nov 05, 2013
  • Ryan Akler-Bishop rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Director Dror Moreh's "The Gatekeepers" plays out like every other political documentary I've ever seen. But what it has that makes it stand out from every other documentary out there, is a clear sense of humanity. "The Gatekeepers" is all about people, the poor decisions we make, and why we go on to make them. I consider that to be a very important subject for a film to cover. Although it's not incredibly entertaining, "The Gatekeepers" is a film I think any documentary-lover should be sure to see.

The head of Israel's secret service and his team were the people who chose what action Israel should take. Some of their decisions were considered highly controversial. "The Gatekeepers" brings the six former heads of the secret service to share their thoughts on why they took the various drastic measures they took. With "The Gatekeepers", we are given a detailed account on the many ups and downs in the history of the Israeli secret service and the decisions they made.

A documentary's main function is to educate the viewer and fill them with new information. "The Gatekeepers" certainly covers that field. The six heads of the Israeli secret service have never before this film shared their thoughts on their actions to the public. We learn about the situation from the perspective of the people it involved most, and we understand the pressure that surrounded them. I believe this is important to understand because as a society we spend our time blaming the government, when they did the best job they could have possibly done. I learned a lot of Israel's affairs, and I can't say I will remember much of it, but at least I learned something.
Israeli politics is a subject I have little knowledge on, and I would suspect, the average non-Israeli viewer would have little knowledge on as well. A major flaw with "The Gatekeepers" is the fact that it assumes we have prior knowledge on the Israeli government - and therefore the film can jump right in without previously setting anything up. We continue having to pay for our lack of knowledge on the subject throughout the film. There were several moments when I found myself scratching my head; wondering what exactly was going on. For that reason, the film's full impact was partially lost on me. It seems like a very simple thing to fix, if they had just added a simple explanation of certain details, but instead, I suffered in confusion at more than one point.

I did not love how “The Gatekeepers” presented itself. But what gave it the slightest bit of quality, and the reason for me to recommend it, is what the film is trying to say. It’s an extremely important subject. At times it’s telling us about how everyone blames the government for being human. At other times, it’s telling us about how humans bend and snap under pressure and sometimes make the wrong decisions, and sometimes make the right ones. But the six members of the secret service have done nothing wrong. They’ve simply selected a profession that has dramatic consequences for any bit of failure. Having to live with themselves after a failure is punishment enough in my opinion.

Although “The Gatekeepers” isn’t a great film, it’s an important one. I have no reason to ever watch it again; but I’m certainly glad it exists. I hope other people can find as much more meaning in it as me, and hopefully more entertainment in it than me.

Sep 21, 2013
  • franzkafka rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It adds a conscience to these men. Always remember that Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin were imprisoned by the colonial powers at their respective times for being terrorists. Maybe that's why they found some common ground at the Camp David Accords in 1978.
However, Aman, Mossad, Shin Bet (Yamas) = CIA, FBI, Blackwater(now renamed) = MI5, MI6, SAS.

How much different than NSDAP, Brownshirts, Waffen SS, Einzatsgruppen.

Sep 04, 2013
  • manao rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Insightful blend of revealing interviews and well-chosen historic film footage will increase your comprehension of this seemingly intractable quandary.

Aug 21, 2013
  • Ron@Ottawa rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In general I don't fancy watching political documentaries but this is one exception. It is extremely well done. Views expressed by the 6 interviewees were honest - and you feel it. For me it sheds a new light on my understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict. I find it very engaging and thought-provoking. A must for anyone who has the slightest interest in knowing more about this decades-long conflict which still has no end in sight.

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