Israeli filmmaker Dror Moreh got his start making TV commercials for Ariel Sharon, the war hero who served as Israel’s prime minister from 2001 to 2006, when he suffered a devastating stroke that has left him in a “persistent vegetative state” ever since. (Just last week, however, Sharon underwent a high-tech FMRI exam that revealed “significant” brain activity, suggesting that he may be aware of his surroundings.) That’s important background for Moreh’s Oscar-nominated documentary “The Gatekeepers” in various ways.
For one thing, Moreh gained access to six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secretive internal security service – who had never before given public interviews – largely because of his political connections. Those men had all worked with Sharon and respected him. For another, understanding the political evolution of Ariel Sharon sheds some light on Moreh, whom I met a few days ago in New York, and also on the surprising pragmatism and moral complexity reflected in his interviews with the Shin Bet leaders.
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