The hot bed of Palestinian terrorism was not the Gaza strip, but rather the West Bank, with the city of Jenin as a major source of suicide bombers. In the early 2000s, the suicide attacks of the Second Intifada reached a peak with the Passover suicide bombing of the Park Hotelin March of 2002. This lead to the IDF launching operation Defensive Shield, which included an incursion into the Jenin refugee camp, with the stated goal of curbing the terror attacks. Unfortunately this led to one of the deadliest days for the IDF since the 1982 war in Lebanon. A reserve battalion was trapped in an alleyway dubbed the bathtub and 13 soldiers were killed. Filmmaker Gil Mezuman, a member of the battalion, was serving as a reservist at the time of the attack.
Jenin, War Diary, is a unique glimpse into the soul of a reserve unit in the immediate aftermath of a deadly attack. Its not just the number killed, or the fact that commanding officers were killed. There is a bond that is formed in a reserve unit. Many of the soldiers have been training together for years, its more than friendship, more than a family, its something that cant be quantified. To lose one of your own, in fact several, and to not only keep going on, but to go back into the fighting, would seem an impossible task. Yet they do so. The camera follows all this as only a fellow insider can. It catches the reservists as they question the events, question themselves, the existential reflection that follows such an event. The joy at surviving, and the heartbreak of losing comrades in arms. The simple joy of holding ones new born child in your arms on a few days leave. And in spite of the emotional weight, they do not hesitate to return to the fighting in Jenin.