At the center of David Benchetrit's concise, illuminating documentary is the highly controversial issue of conscientious objection to military orders and military service in Israel. Through interviews with four former military men and one civilian, Benchetrit traces the origins of conscientious objection in Israel back to the country's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Originally called "Operation Peace for Galilee," the Lebanon War was the first Isaeli military incursion that large portions of the country's population considered unjust. Nevertheless, combat raged on, and as the situation began to degenerate into a Vietnam-type morass in which soldiers were being given immoral or outright illegal orders from their superiors, the public's concern turned to protest. In this way, the phenomenon of conscientious objection grew and took up a more prominent position in the public discourse. Benchetrit's previous films have examined such contemporary issues as the history and oppression of Israel's Mizrahim (Jews of Moroccan origin) and the ever-evolving identity of Israeli women. In Dear Father, Quiet, We're Shooting… Benchetrit sets out to prove that conscientious objection-whether to specific military orders or to military service itself-is the only way to maintain one's humanity in the face of baseless wars and military occupations. This is a position at odds with both the Israeli right and the mainstream Zionist left, yet it has nevertheless gained currency since the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000. In fact, an entire youth movement of so-called "refuseniks" has sprung up among high-school students who refuse to do their compulsory military service. Taking its name from an old recruitment slogan, Dear Father insightfully sheds light on the history leading up to this burgeoning strategy of resistance.
David Benchetrit was born in Morocco in 1954. He graduated from the Beit Zvi School of Film and Television in 1976 before going on to work as a director, producer, and camera operator on a number of political and social documentary films, both in Israel and abroad. Benchetrit's major works include Through the Veil of Exile, Samir, Born on the 13th of September, Kaddim Wind - Moroccan Chronicle, and his latest project Dear Father, Quiet, We're Shooting… His films have brought him international recognition in both Europe and the United States and have won awards at the San Francisco International, Freiburg, Tangiers, and Jerusalem Film Festivals. Benchetrit is also a recipient of the prestigious Landau Award for documentary filmmaking, and he has taught film and television production at Tel Aviv University, the Beit Zvi School of Film and Television, Camera Obscura, and the Sapir Academic Center.