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'The Gatekeepers' is an eye-opening look at Israel's past – and possibly its future

'The Gatekeepers' focuses on six of the surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli domestic counterterrorism agency, and their memories of dark days.

From left to right: Avraham Shalom, Ami Ayalon, Yaakov Peri, Yuval Diskin, Avi Dichter, Carmi Gillon, six former heads of Israel's secret service Shin Bet, reflect on their decisions in 'The Gatekeepers.'

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In the documentary “The Gatekeepers,” six surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the highly secretive Israeli domestic counterterrorism agency, are interviewed about their histories, which, inevitably, also encompass Israel’s history in the wake of the 1967 war, when the agency was put in charge of counterintelligence in the West Bank and Gaza.

Although many of these men, who variously ran the agency from 1980 through 2011, have spoken out prior to being interviewed here, “The Gatekeepers,” directed by Dror Moreh, represents the first full-scale documentation of their political lives. It’s an eye-opener.

Contrary to what one might be led to believe, the men are for the most part highly conflicted about their pasts.

“We all have our moments,” says Yuval Diskin. “Maybe you’re shaving and you think, ‘I make a decision and X number of people are killed.’ ” He goes on: “The power to take lives in an instant, there’s something unnatural about it.”


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