Opening 27 Nov 2014
In this contemporary documentary one family represents the Israel-Palestine conflict. Sheikh Hassan Yousef is a prominently successful resident of Ramallah. He and his large family of five sons and three daughters are well-respected in the town. Sheikh Yousef is also one of the seven founders of Hamas in 1987, the Palestinian resistance movement with military assignments, which Western countries consider to be a terrorist organization. For his political activity he has spent 16 years in an Israeli prison, partly due to intervention by his son Mosab. Hassan Yousef.
Sheikh Hassan Yousef’s oldest son Mosab follows his father’s example and joins the Hamas resistance; he also serves time in an Israeli prison at the young age of 17. While there, he is recruited by Israeli Gonen Ben Yitzhak of the Israeli Secret Service (called Schin Bet) to inform on the workings of Hamas, something he is well able to do, considering his connections to the leaders, including his own family. For ten years, 1997-2007, under the code name The Green Prince, he reveals plans to Gonen Ben Yitzhak and together they are able to prevent much suffering and death. This was “one of the strangest but most effective partnerships in the history of the Israeli Secret Service,” according to press notes. In 2007, after ten years working as a spy for Israel, he is unable to return to any kind of normal life in Palestine. Gonen Ben Yitzhak helps Mosab flee to the USA. Now, at age 36, he has settled in California and converted to Christianity.
This is almost unbelievable, well done, but still almost unreal. How did Mosab convince his father to participate in the film? Are there no bad feelings between them? Was Mosab not afraid to go public in this manner? Is he safe in California? The film, which is based on Mosab’s autobiography Son of Hamas, won best documentary at festivals in Moscow, Israel, and Sundance. (Becky Tan)