A film by Assaf Banitt and Shay Hazkani
Director: Assaf Banitt
Script and Research: Assaf Banitt, Shay Hazkani
Category: History / Sociopolitical / Army / Human Rights / Privacy / Israel
Production: Shahar Ben Hur, Assaf Banitt
Produced for Channel 8 – Hot Cable Communication, Israel / 2022
Supported by The Other Israel Film Fund, USA and The New Fund for Cinema and Television (NFCT), Israel
Length: 55 minutes
Over the span of fifty years, the Israeli military censorship secretly copied soldiers’ personal letters, extracting their views on the most contentious issues facing its society. The findings were presented to leaders in a top-secret report titled “The Soldier’s Opinion”.
National military service is mandatory for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18. Until the introduction of mobile phones, the primary means used by soldiers to share their experiences and communicate with their families was through letters. From 1948 onwards, the Military Censor had the authority to open all soldiers’ letters in order to prevent the disclosure of military secrets and protect national security. In practice, the Censor used the information in these letters for entirely different purposes, without the soldiers’ knowledge… The purpose was to analyze the views of ordinary soldiers, and the findings were presented to high-ranking officials in a top secret report titled “The Soldier’s Opinion”. The film sketches the alternative history of Israel that the report offers and reveals what actions those who read it chose to take.