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'Bethlehem' is powerful because of the violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it depicts

'Bethlehem' stars Tsahi Halevi and Shadi Mar'i.

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'Bethlehem' stars Shadi Mar'i (l.) and Tsahi Halevi (r.).

Adopt Films

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“Bethlehem” is the latest entry in a burgeoning genre about reluctant Palestinian double agents in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (“Omar” is the most recent). Israeli director Yuval Adler and Palestinian journalist and co-screenwriter Ali Wakad have teamed up to make a movie that is, in some ways, slick and agile enough to be called “CSI: Bethlehem.” Razi (Tsahi Halevi) is an Israeli Secret Service agent who enlists the teenage Sanfur (Shadi Mar’i) in providing information leading to the Israeli-engineered death of Sanfur’s militant brother Ibrahim (Hisham Suliman).

The movie doesn’t delve especially deeply into the psychology of double-agentry, and the shifting viewpoints between Israelis and Palestinians flattens the drama instead of broadening it. “Bethlehem” remains a fairly powerful experience because so much of what we see is inflamed by a violence that seems to have no end. Grade: B (Unrated.)

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