Censored Voices: Soldier testimonies exposing 1967 Israeli crimes against civilians

PNN/ Bethlehem/

The documentary film “Censored Voices” has recently been screened in Israel, in synchronization with the 48th six-day war anniversary, showcasing testimonies by Israeli soldiers  on crimes they conducted during the war in which Israel  battled against Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and ended up conquering West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan heights.

The documentary, directed by the Leftist Israeli director, Mor Loushy, unveils tape records by Israeli soldiers, mostly from socialist kibbutz, narrating how they murdered civilians during the war due to military commands.

These tapes were recorded a short period after the war, and were issued two months after in a book called “A Conversation With Warriors;” a collection edited by Avraham Shapira that sold a stunning 120,000 copies in Israel. (The English-language version is called “The Seventh Day.”) Mr. Halevi said its publication “was the moment when part of Israeli society started sobering up from the euphoria.” However, the testimonies part was cut by Israeli military censorship.

Speaking of the documentarry, the Israeli producer Daniel Sivan talks about the soldiers going back home on the seventh day of the war after a “crazy victory.” Instead of feeling victorious, they feel broken.”

The collected testimonies were Shocking; soldiers citing military orders to evacuate Arab civilians, entire villages; to make them refugees and “kill everyone.” The film also narrates executing prisoners in a manner that one fighter likened to the Nazis’ treatment of European Jews.

One soldier recalls encountering Arabs on rooftops. “They’re civilians — should I kill them or not?” he asks himself. “I didn’t even think about it. Just kill! Kill everyone you see.” And a third makes it personal: “All of us — Avinoam, Zvika, Yitzhaki — we’re not murderers. In the war, we all became murderers,” the New York Times reported.

As reported by NYT, the director,  Ms. Loushy says  that “If those voices had been published in 1967, maybe our reality here would be different.” The film portrays the fatal decisions made by Israel, which only worsened the situation and enhanced hatred and war in the region.

Mor Loushy, director of "Censored Voices"  with tape recorder.

The 84-minute film had a budget under $1 million, financed mainly by Israeli and European broadcasters and the American documentary producer Impact Partners. Interspersing the 1967 interviews with archival footage from the war and ABC News’s coverage of it, it does make clear the imminent threat to Israel — and then the stunning turnabout that military historians have long considered a marvel.