This documentary can be looked at in two entirely different ways. On one hand, it’s a typical crime investigation in which the authorities have to piece together evidence while hoping the alleged perpetrators make some kind of mistake that will give away their identities.
On the other hand, it’s not at all emblematic of any other carefully planned criminal undertaking. As the movie notes, the conspiracy to blow up the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem by Jewish Israeli extremists could have – if achieved – led to a nuclear war. As one of those Shin Bet investigators who finally helped discover the perpetrators tells us, they are “lunatics.”
So much news comes out of Israel, it’s hard for most of us to recall the early 1980s when extremist, right-wing settlers carried out a string of violent acts against Palestinians, including booby-trapping cars of three Palestinian mayors in the West Bank – badly injuring them — and attacking the Islamic College in Hebron, killing three Palestinian students. Members of what the media called “the Jewish underground” were eventually rounded up in April 1984 as several were caught placing explosives in four Palestinian buses.
To watch them go from strategizing how to best rid the Land of Israel of Palestinians, to politicking to reach the same goals, is the most chilling aspect of this powerful film that must be seen to be believed.
Jan Jaben-Eilon is a long-time journalist who has dual citizenship in the United States and Israel.