Our Boys (2015) - full transcript

OUR BOYS is the fourteenth documentary produced by Moriah Films and its second short subject since the award winning BEAUTIFUL MUSIC in 2004. The film examines the events surrounding the kidnapping and murder of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrach, z"l, by Hamas terrorists in the summer of 2014. The parents of each boy recall their short lives and how this tragedy has impacted upon their families. Arab affairs analyst for Israeli television Ehud Ya'ari and author Yossi Klein Halevi discuss why the kidnapping and murder of the boys galvanized Israel and the Diaspora. The film then examines how the indiscriminate shelling of Israeli cities and towns from Gaza by Hamas, which followed the murders, resulted in the Gaza war. Man Booker Prize winning novelist Howard Jacobson looks at how events during and following the Gaza war have led to the greatest resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe since the defeat of the Nazis in 1945. OUR BOYS will start premiering at international film festivals in the Summer of 2015.

(Multicom Jingle)

(anxious violin, piano music)

(speaking foreign language)

(dial tone beeping)

- These teenagers were kidnapped

and the kidnapping was
carried out by Hamas members.

Israel will act in all
ways under our control

to bring home the three
kidnapped teenagers.

- Israeli troops tonight are searching

the West Bank for three
kidnapped teenagers.

- [Newsman] Troops arrested
around 80 Palestinian

suspects in and around the
West Bank city of Hebron.

- God willing, we'll all be able

to celebrate their return safely.

- [Newsman] Thousands of
Jewish worshipers gathered

at Jerusalem's Western Wall
in a special mass prayer.

(speaking foreign language)

- [Supporters] We stand
with you, we stand with you.

(chanting in foreign language)

(anxious violin music)

- [Newswoman] The search
for the three Israeli

teenagers ended tragically
when soldiers discovered

their bodies buried
underneath a pile of stones

in a field in a valley
northwest of Hebron.

- At this hour, the funeral
processions for Naftali

Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaer and Eyal
Yifrah are getting underway.

(speaking foreign language)

- A day later, July 2nd, a 17 year old

Palestinian teen is abducted
while heading to a mosque.

- His body was dumped in this
forest just outside Jerusalem.

He was still alive when the killers

doused him in gasoline
and set him on fire.

(rockets booming)

- Israeli called up 1500
reservists and Palestinian

militants fired dozens
of rockets into Israel.

- We are beyond that point now.

Hamas are going to pay for the
attacks they're carrying out.

(speaking foreign language)

(chanting in foreign language)

- [Newswoman] From France to
The Netherlands and to Germany,

a surge of anti-Semitism
is spreading across

Europe sparked by the Israel-Hamas war.

- [Protesters] Adolf Hitler, Adolf Hitler!

(rockets booming)

(sirens warbling)

- [Newswoman] What began with the death

of three young teens, now a full out war.

(anxious violin tones)

(relaxed guitar music)

(singing in foreign language)

(speaking foreign language)

(relaxed rock music)

(audience cheering)

(speaking foreign language)

(speaking foreign language)

- Here.

Naftali and Ada.

Ada who you just saw here

and this is from his Bar Mitzvah session.

Here he is playing flutes with Kevin.

- [Racheli] Our second son Naftali

was born the week we moved to Nof Ayalon.

- He did all the things a teenager does,

which means he did a lot of fighting.

So fighting with his sisters and

he didn't always like to study too much.

- And he knew how to do it very well.

- But when he needed to do
it, he did it very well.

When he was younger, he had a teacher

and he learned to play flute
and a little bit of guitar,

a little bit but then he decided

he wants to really go into
it and he taught himself.

- He had this little MP3 player

and he filled it up with classical music,

jazz, pop, rock, Hasidic music,

older (speaking foreign
language), old Israel music

and it was a conscious decision to expose

himself to every style of music

that he can

and to develop an ear for it.

I remember I was about to download

for him some Alan Parsons
Project, you know?

These are old time things that I love

and I said Naftali will appreciate
it and I didn't make it.

Naftali usually didn't travel at night

but that evening, he was
back from a field trip

and it was the last day of school

and he texted us at some point
that he's on his way home.

We still have the text only

an hour later and we said "Great."

(speaking foreign language)

(speaking foreign language)

- There were policemen banging on our door

trying to wake us up
because Gil-ad's family

were in touch with him

and they realized that his phone

was suddenly off and
that he didn't show up.

They got to us to check if
Gil-ad is sleeping by us.

So for a second there,
we thought it's all about

going up to his room, seeing
both of them safe in their bed,

maybe saying "Next time you
have to tell your parents."

The beds were empty.

We ran down to the basement,
they weren't there.

We immediately knew we're in deep trouble.

(speaking foreign language)

(speaking foreign language)

- In the morning, like
right after the police went,

this was like a couple hours later,

Ofir, Gil-ad's father and Avi,

they never knew each other before,

were already on their way together to--

- Gush Etzion.
- To Gush Etzion

to see what they can figure out.

They spent a couple of hours

very intensively together

and later we learned that
Eyal was also missing.

(speaking foreign language)

- Hamas were desperate
to mount some operations

in the West Bank and ignite some riots,

trouble, confrontations
all over the West Bank.

They felt caged in the Gaza Strip

and they were contemplating different ways

to revive their networks in the West Bank.


has a special command in Turkey

which is responsible for the West Bank.

It's headed by a certain fellow

by the name of Saleh al-Arouri,

a very serious player within

Hamas leadership parties

and he has a group with him and they,

with the knowledge of
the Turkish authorities,

they were concentrating on the effort

to revive Hamas activities
in the West Bank.

How do they do that?

They operate through a team in Gaza

which is unofficially named
the West Bank Command.

The kidnapping of the three teenagers

was a part of that effort
and was carried out

by two Hamas activists from Hebron.

(speaking foreign language)

(speaking foreign language)

- I spent that Friday contacting my kids.

We called our oldest son to come home

and our parents to spend
the Shabbat with us.

- A very hard Shabbat,
it's not easy at all.


we tried and I think the seeds of the way

we live today

started then.

The way we behaved then on that Shabbat.

(speaking foreign language)

- We've just met for the first time,

the families of Ayel,
Gil-ad and and Naftali.

It was a very emotional
meeting, very significant.

We met good, strong,

God-fearing people

and we're trying from
here to send strength

to everybody that's
involved in this effort.

To the soldiers, to the government,

to the Prime Minister
that's in touch with us,

we pray that everybody involved,

the soldiers and our children
will come home harmless.

- [Newsman] For five
days now, Israeli forces

have conducted an intensive manhunt for

the three teenagers who
disappeared Thursday night.

Part of a search that has
so far yielded little.

(speaking foreign language)

- Mr. President, it is
wrong to take children,

innocent boys and girls and use them

as instruments of any
struggle, it is cruel.

This Council is charged with
protecting human rights.

I wish to ask, doesn't every child

have the right to come
home safely from school?

We just want them back in
our homes, in their beds.

We just want to hug them again.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(crowd cheering)

(speaking foreign language)

(crowd applauding)

(speaking foreign language)

- There was such solidarity and love

and such positive feelings in the air

and a basic human sense
of we're all together here

and we are wanting to
get the children back.

- They told us two bodies were found.

A half an hour later, they
said three bodies were found.

They didn't have positive identification

'til the middle of the night
but they said it's them.

In a way, we were prepared

because we had 18 days to think about it.

It's not as if you sit
at home and suddenly

someone comes and says "Your
son died in a car accident."

That's, maybe we didn't want

to think of it but it was there.

In a way, it makes it easier but

it's devastating.

(speaking foreign language)

- We had some ceremony in Nof Ayalon.

That was only for Naftali.

(speaking foreign language)

And each one of the families had

its own ceremony in their
house, in their environment.

And then

we all met in Modiin and
there we had that big

funeral with the President
and the Prime Minister.

(speaking foreign language)

- [Newsman] A day after Israel buried

three students abducted
near a Jewish settlement,

Israeli police have found the body

of a fourth teenager in Jerusalem Forest.

- [Reporter] Mohammed was
killed in revenge for the

kidnapping and murder of three
Israeli teenagers last month.

- The Shabak, the Israeli Security Agency

detained this morning several
Israeli Jewish suspects.

- We spoke with one of
the suspect's lawyers.

He told us that three among
them are teenagers themselves.

(speaking foreign language)

Everybody we knew was
horrified by the story

and we felt this is something we must do.

We also tried to meet his family,
they chose not to meet us.

Going through that horror
ourselves and realizing that

somebody else was hurt
like that was horrifying.

- [Translator] The story that we know

is that they died in a traffic accident.

These soldiers weren't killed

and died in a car accident in Eilat

and then they were buried in Hebron.

They wanted to bomb Gaza and
wanted to do any operation,

to use it as a justification.

- The grief and outrage over these

murders tonight in
Israel is extraordinary.

- [Newswoman] Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

held Palestinian faction
Hamas responsible.

- Hamas leaders are warning
if Israeli authorities

attempt to expel Hamas
leaders from the West Bank,

there will be consequences.

- [Newswoman] Dozens of militant

rockets have been fired at Israel today.

- [Reporter] Tonight airstrikes
are being reported in Gaza.

- [Newswoman] More than 30

airstrikes were launched on Hamas.

- [Reporter] On Tuesday,
the border between Israel

and the Gaza Strip illuminated
by the flames of war.

Israel may launch a ground invasion

if the rocket attacks continue.

- [Newswoman] At least 200

rockets have been fired at Israel.

- The ground operation began

around 10:00 p.m. on Thursday local time.

(gunfire clacking)

(chanting in foreign language)

(tense violin music)

- Suddenly it's as if
Israel decided one morning

to attack its defenseless
neighbors because well,

we haven't hit Gaza for a few years.

That's the crudeness of the image

that gets repeated over and over again.

In one sense, it's understandable

that the world will see the Palestinians

as David and Israel as Goliath but

if you widen the lens to
include the Arab world

and large parts of the Muslim world,

then Israel becomes David
and our enemies are Goliath.

When we look around our borders,

what we see is Hezbollah in the north

and Iran right behind them.

We have the Islamic State on the Golan,

Hamas is Gaza, we have Al-Qaeda in Sinai

and so when we look at our situation,

we don't see mighty Israel,

we don't experience
ourselves as mighty Israel.

But the images that are conveyed

from these asymmetrical conflicts

reinforce a distorted image and we're not

able to convey the sense of vulnerability

that Israelis live with every day.

(chanting in foreign language)

- [Newsman] Protests against Israel

are increasing taking on a
hateful, anti-Semitic tone.

- We hear "Death to Jews"

in the street from Antwerp
to the south of the county.

- [Newsman] July recorded the second-

highest number of anti-Semitic
incidents in 30 years.

- This summer's conflict in Gaza

between Israel and Hamas
is behind the rise.

- We've seen banners held aloft

and heard chants proclaiming
support for Hitler

and saying that Jews should
be sent to gas chambers.

- [Newsman] And the language

has turned from anti-Israel to anti-Jew.

(gunfire clacking)

- [Reporter] French police stormed

a kosher grocery store,
freeing many hostages

but discovering four more innocent victims

in what the French President
called an act of anti-Semitism.

(explosion booms)

- You would have thought that
whatever rage consumed people

80, 90, 100 years ago,

you would have thought that 70 years ago

when it was clear what had happened

that that would then have been assuaged.

Apparently not.

It would appear to be a hunger

that cannot be satisfied.

The minute I say it, I realize how

the danger of exaggeration on my part.

I live in London,

which is a very peaceful city.

I do not, touch wood,

fear for my safety as I walk the streets.

Though I sometimes wonder
if there will be a time

when I will fear for safety
when I walk the streets.

But with each instance
of renewed anti-Semitism

in Europe or in Australia
or indeed in this country,

you just do wonder.

The pitch on the streets

and in the newspapers of Israeli loathing

increases until you do
actually feel quite frightened

by the language as much as anything else.

Only last year in Gaza,
normally quite reasonable

reporters would be interviewing
Israeli politicians

and asking them why they
love killing babies.

We have the Baroness Tonge

who is a member of the
Liberal Democrat party.

She is in the House of Lords.

She's been savagely
anti-Israel for many years.

But recently when there
was the earthquake in Haiti

and some members of the
Israeli Defense Forces

were sent out to help and they helped

and she wrote, "I'm not
saying this is the case,

"but I have heard it
said that the only reason

"that they were there
was to harvest organs

"of dead Haitians and then
do whatever they want.

"I'm not saying that this happened,

"but I think we should look into it."

You can say anything you like about Israel

because it's not anti-Semitic
to be an anti-Zionism,

they feel they are free
of that imputation.

It is not anti-Semitic
to be a critic of Israel.

I am a critic of Israel.

Therefore, I am not an anti-Semite.

(gunfire clacking)

We are guessing about
what the future will hold.

Jews have managed to live in the cracks

for many hundreds of
years, sometimes well,

sometimes not so well while anti-Semitism

just simmers and bubbles around them.

I think to suppose now,

if it wasn't got rid of in the Holocaust,

such a short time ago, then
what will get rid of it?

What detergent will we find
that can get rid of it?

Nothing, so it remains.

Then the question of
how much of it remains,

how virulent and how toxic it is

and how far we can just hold it back

and that will I'm afraid change from

country to country and from age to age.

But I don't think any
Jew should ever suppose

that thing will now ever
go away, it will not.

(speaking foreign language)

(speaking foreign language)

(speaking foreign language)

- During the summer, we met
quite a few bereaved families

and every family has a
way of dealing with things

but one of the things that
we heard people say is

"You know, we put a
smile on our face and we

"continue living but you
and I know it's just a mask.

"Behind that, it's all devastation."

And both Avi and I felt we
don't want to live that way.

I can feel sorrow, I don't
have to become my sorrow.

We promised our children

that our family will be happy again.

My daughter Natmah, she's six years old.

She saw me packing something and she said,

"Eema, do you still put on your makeup

"only when you get to work
so you can cry on the way?"

And I said "You know Natmah,

"I don't cry every day on the way to work

"but I reserve the right
to cry on the way to work."

And it was important for
me that she could say

something like that, she
understands that we need to cry,

that we ought to cry but also she sees us

laughing and being happy
and enjoying ourselves.

- [Avi] The grief is not everything.

There is a time for grief
and a time for crying

and there's a time for the life.

- [Racheli] And sometimes it's a minute

of this and a minute of this.
- Right.

But it doesn't take over everything.

- But even after the summer where

supposedly we paid the ultimate price,

I don't regret for a day growing up here

and being able to raise my children here.

The future?

Life isn't simple and I don't think

there are any simple solutions
and I'm not very naive

as far as where this dispute is going.

We keep our hopes us but

we said there's so much
blessing in our life,

we try to concentrate on that.

- And as Racheli mentioned,

there are so many good
things we were blessed with

and that's the things
we hold to and continue.

(singing in foreign language)

(dramatic traditional
Israeli ensemble music)

(Multicom Jingle)