'The Gatekeepers' Director Slams Channel 1 for 'Foolish' Roundtable After Shin Bet Series Airs

Panel was a political dictate from above, charges Dror Moreh.

Nirit Anderman
Nirit Anderman
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Nirit Anderman
Nirit Anderman

The director of the Oscar-nominated documentary "The Gatekeepers" harshly criticized Channel 1 Monday for holding a studio discussion right after the first episode in the expanded TV version of his film. Dror Moreh said he believed the panel was a political dictate from above.

The five-part documentary presents a longer version of the film, based on interviews with six Shin Bet security service heads.

Moreh wrote on his Facebook page after Sunday's first episode aired: "I'm disgusted over the discussion and the people that Channel 1 put on after the program. I have no doubt the discussion was a political dictate from above. The people chosen to participate were also carefully selected. Instead of letting the program and the series and the Shin Bet chiefs speak their piece, they chose a foolish and populist discussion that we've heard thousands of times. I very much hope the viewers fled to another channel!"

The studio discussion was moderated by Amir Bar Shalom and Noa Barak. Participants were former National Union-National Religious Party and Likud politician Effi Eitam; Oslo Accords architect and former minister Yossi Beilin; Prof. Ephraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University, who published an article that the two-state paradigm was no longer realistic; Prof. Yossi Shain of Tel Aviv University, an expert in Diaspora politics; and Hanan Gefen, former commander of the Israel Defense Forces intelligence-gathering Unit 8200.

"The Israel Broadcasting Authority said they were going to present a studio discussion to balance the film, and I felt this decision reeked of politics," Moreh told Haaretz yesterday. "We're all grown-ups here. Why, after a documentary film where six heads of the Shin Bet speak, do we need a discussion where moldy politicians repeat the same cliches we've heard so many times? I'm not against Yossi Beilin or Effi Eitam. To me, this decision was simply the IBA shooting itself in the foot," Moreh said.

'Viewers will change channel'

Moreh said he hoped that in next week's segment, "if the IBA insists on having a discussion afterward, viewers will watch the end of the program, until the end of the credits, and then change the channel."

It seems the head of Channel 1's documentary department, Itay Landsberg-Nevo, agrees with Moreh. About a month ago, Landsberg-Nevo wrote a letter to Channel 1's head of programming, Yoav Ginai, stating his opposition to the decision to hold a studio roundtable after the episodes.

"The IBA does not need a gatekeeper for 'The Gatekeepers,'' he wrote. "The public is mature enough and intelligent enough to put things into the various contexts of their lives ... In my opinion, this will be seen as political oversight, and will place the moderator in a very difficult journalistic position - as the person presenting the 'government's' position - and hurts freedom of expression and artistic freedom," he added.

Landsberg-Nevo also criticized the fact that the decision on the roundtable was made by a committee that had not seen the series.

Oscar-nominated director Dror Moreh in February 2013.Credit: Reuters

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