Director Nadav Schirman presents an unbelievable story of the coming together of two conflicting worlds. However, this film about a unique relationship between an Israeli and a Palestinian is no drama, it is a documentary! In presenting the incredible relationship of trust that forms between Israeli and Palestinian, Schirman’s documentary gives a clear call to the world that trust can be developed between any two people, regardless of their background.
At 17, Palestinian Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a prominent Hamas leader, is arrested and interrogated. He is then offered the opportunity to work as an informer for Israel. After experiencing disillusionment with his own people, Mosab accepts. His handler, Gonen, from Isreal’s Shin Bet secret police, develops a profound relationship of trust with Mosab. Through their collaboration, suicide bombings are prevented and Mosab saves his own father’s life on two occasions.
The documentary leaves the audience with many questions. Is Mosab a traitor or a hero? Is he saving lives or destroying his people? In response, Schirman, simply following the story, guides us away from politics into relationship. Mosab and Gonen develop such a close relationship that they end up working more with each other than for their respective organizations. For Gonen, it costs him his job. He is fired by Shin Bet, at which point Mosab pulls out and with Israeli help ends up in the United States.
At this point a sad surprise awaits people of faith like myself. Mosab embraces the Gospel in the US, but his efforts at trust are fruitless. After trusting enough to share his story he is rejected by the Christian group that brought him to faith, and subsequently refused political asylum by the US government. Here terrorist fear trumps relationships of trust. But all is not lost. Gonen learns of Mosab’s plight and risks his own situation by flying to the US to tell the whole story and secure Mosab’s freedom and security in the United States.
Gonen had broken all protocol in order to come to the aid of the young Palestinian in this documentary that, according to Schirman, “Is less about political struggle than personal coming-to-terms with responsibility and moral duty.” During the Q&A with the director after the screening, one question was directly addressed to Gonen, the Shin Bet secret security agent. “Why don’t you ask him yourself?” replied the director. As Gonen appeared, responsibility and moral duty were immediately greeted with a standing ovation. The challenge to us is inescapable. Can we, as the body of Christ, do likewise?