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
Language: Hebrew

Subtitles: English
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.

Watch ”The Soldier’s Opinion” Q+A with Director Assaf Banitt, Shay Hazkani, Jeremy Dov Barcan and Kobi Cohen

i24news CULTURE | Focus sur ”The Soldier’s Opinion”. Doc sur l’armée et la censure. Tsahal-Armée de Défense d’Israël 

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Festivals & Awards:

  • Santa Barbara International Film Festival, USA 2023
  • Beyond Borders Kastellorizo International Documentary Festival, Greece 2023
  • Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Canada 2023
  • Other Israel Film Festival, New York, USA 2022
  • JxJ Washington Jewish Film Festival, USA 2022
  • Israeli Film Competition: Jerusalem Film Festival, Israel 2022
  • Nominee for Best Documentary Film Award: Ophir Awards 2023 (Israel Film Academy) 
  • Nominee for Best First Film Award: Israeli Documentary Film Awards 2022

Movie Reviews: 
* « The result is a fascinating film that raises the need to treat reality as it is, and prevent the next trauma » "A soldier's opinion" reveals that doubts arose among the soldiers . Smadar Shiloni / YNET (Hebrew)
* « "The soldier's opinion" should become the talk of the day in the country. The result is fascinating. » "The soldier's opinion" should become the talk of the day / Avner Shavit / Walla (Hebrew)
* « CULTURE | Valérie Abecassis reçoit Assaf Banitt, le réalisateur du documentaire "The Soldier's Opinion", qui investit le monde de la censure militaire israélienne. Pendant des décennies, Tsahal a secrètement copié les lettres personnelles des soldats, extrayant leurs points de vue sur les questions les plus controversées auxquelles la société israélienne est confrontée. Les conclusions ont été compilées dans un rapport top secret identifié nommé "l'opinion du soldat". » CULTURE | i24news CULTURE | Focus sur ''The Soldier's Opinion". / Valérie Abecassis / i24news (Français)