Israeli Oscar Nominee Criticizes Netanyahu Over Snub

Director Dror Moreh says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to watch his documentary, The Gatekeepers, 'says more about him than about the film.'

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Director Dror Moreh has criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for ignoring his film on the Middle East conflict, which could earn Israel its first ever Oscar on Sunday.

Asked about a comment by a spokesman for Netanyahu, who said the premier had not seen "The Gatekeepers" and had no plans to, Moreh said: "It says more about him than about the film."

"The film is not leftist. The film is practical and realistic. It looks at the situation as it is and says; 'guys, Israel, wake up,'" Moreh told Israel's Channel 2 television at the weekend.

The Gatekeepers has been nominated in the Documentary Feature category alongside "5 Broken Cameras" of Palestinian Emad Burnat, "How to Survive a Plague" of David France, "The Invisible War" of Kirby Dick and "Searching for Sugar Man" of Malik Bendjelloul.

Netanyahu has not congratulated Moreh for his nomination and the director has said he does not expect a telephone call if he wins.

The Gatekeepers interviews all living six former heads of Israel's Shin Bet internal security service, who portray Israel's struggle against terrorism, but express concern at the absence of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon, of Netanyahu's nationalist Likud party, has accused Moreh of selectively editing the statements of the former Shin Bet chiefs "to serve his narrative, which in my opinion is the Palestinian narrative."

"What was presented there was presented in a one-sided manner, and therefore the film is slanted," Ya'alon has told Army Radio.

Moreh, 51, has pointed out that the hardline Netanyahu had participated in "inciting" demonstrations against Yitzhak Rabin, shortly before the former premier was shot dead by a Yigal Amir, radical Jew opposed to his peace moves with the Palestinians in 1995.

Also speaking to Channel 2, Burnat said he saw his creation as an "anti-occupation tool" and "not just a film."

His "5 Broken Cameras" – a documentary about weekly demonstrations against Israel's controversial West Bank barrier outside his Palestinian village of Bi'lin – has also drawn much attention ahead of Sunday's ceremony.

"I believed that the camera is a strong weapon, a weapon which opens people's eyes and minds, a weapon which doesn't kill," he said.

Former heads of the Shin Bet in 'The Gatekeepers.' Clockwise from top left: Jacob Perry, Avraham Shalom, Avi Dichter and Yuval Diskin.Credit: Screenshot
Dror Moreh, director of 'The Gatekeepers.'Credit: Daniel Tchetchik

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