A Palestinian in Ramallah, Mosab Hassan Yousef grows up angry and ready to fight Israel. Arrested for smuggling guns at the age of 17, he's interrogated by the Shin Bet, Israel's security service, and sent to prison. But shocked by Hamas's ruthless tactics in the prison and the organization's escalating campaign of suicide bombings outside, Mosab agrees to spy for Israel. For him, there is no greater shame. For his Shin Bet handler, Gonen, there is no greater prize: "operating" the oldest son of a founding member of Hamas.Written by
Sundance Film Festival
The Green Prince (2014) is an Israeli film written and directed by Nadav Schirman. It's a documentary that features Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas leader, and Gonen Ben Yitzhak, who was an agent with Shin Bet, the Israeli secret service.
Intelligence agents will use any means at their disposal to get an opponent to cross the line and turn against his or her own people. That's the situation portrayed in this documentary. A Shin Bet agent was able to convince a young Palestinian to work for Shin Bet against his Palestinian friends and family.
The young man--Mosab Hassan Yousef--tells us how, when he was in prison, Hamas leaders tortured their own people with unimaginable cruelty. This experience was the turning point. It was after this that he became an informant for the Israelis.
We who are watching the film can see that there's more to this story than Mosab tell us. However, it's possible that he himself doesn't see the big picture.
Mosab clearly bonded with his handler, Gonen Ben Yitzhak. Still, it's obvious that the bonding worked in both directions. Gonen grew to respect--and possibly love--Mosab. Ultimately, their bond is put to the test.
This is a grim, difficult film about a grim, difficult situation. However, the topic is so important, and the psychological complexities are so profound, that it's worth accepting the difficulty and seeing the movie. We saw it at the Rochester JCC Hart Theatre, as part of the outstanding Rochester International Jewish Film Festival. It will work just as well on a small screen.
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