One of the major sticking points to peace in the Middle East according to the international community are the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Over the years of discussions and negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the settlements have regularly been a wedge issue. Israel has alternately called for building sprees and freezes depending on which way the political winds blow, domestically and/or internationally. For that matter, the Palestinian leadership has made as much political hay out of the issue as well. But beyond the politics is the reality on the ground.
Following in the footsteps of the first Zionist pioneers, but with a form of fervent Judaism to back them up, a sub group of settlers see the entire land of Israel as their birth right. Scorning the Israeli leaderships, they set out to build on the hills of Judea and Samaria (as they refer to the West Bank). In The Hilltops, Director Igal Hect goes to meet these people. Who are they, what is the ideology behind their behavior? Rather than confronting them, Mr. Hect chooses to let them speak for themselves.
With belief in the righteousness of their mission, they are willing to live in primitive conditions to establish their right to the land. As the film opens we see what are referred to as Hilltop Youth, putting together what is essentially a packing crate to be used as a building to establish their rights to the hilltop they are on. The IDF comes to dismantle it and disperse the youth. This is only the beginning as Mr. Hect takes us from such hilltops, to more established town-like settlements, communities living in caravans, and examines the ideology behind the willingness to live in such conditions. By the time we return to culmination of the opening segment, while we may not agree with them, we can at least understand why.