“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.”
All of the men interviewed – Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri, Carmi Gillon, Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter, and Diskin – come across as ruminative and, in varying degrees, remorseful. They share a belief in the curtailment of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the granting of Palestinian statehood. They believe Israeli politicians have not done enough to make this happen. Peri, who ran Shin Bet from 1988 to 1994, during the first intifada leading to the Oslo peace accords, says: “You knock on doors in the middle of the night – these moments end up etched deep inside you. I think, after retiring from this job, you become a leftist.”
But their attitudes are much more complicated than this. Shalom, for example, in his 80s, is characterized by some in the film as a tyrant despite the fact that, with his cuddly jowls and red suspenders, he might have stepped out of an Israeli Pepperidge Farm commercial.