PARK CITY, Utah — After nearly a half-century of censorship, the Israeli soldiers of 1967’s Six-Day War are finally being heard in full in the illuminating documentary “Censored Voices.”
Director Mor Loushy was given unprecedented access to over 200 hours of tape-recorded interviews with soldiers that were conducted by author Amos Oz and editor Avraham Shapira in the days after the victory for a book. At the time, the army allowed only a portion of the interviews to be used.
The prevailing textbook narrative for students in Israel had painted the soldiers as triumphant heroes. When Loushy came across “The Seventh Day,” she noticed a different tone than the one she’d learned in school and got to work trying to persuade Shapira to give her fuller access to the censored tapes.
Loushy spent eight months listening to the voices on the tapes before going out in search for the men involved, which proved incredibly difficult because the recordings were anonymous. When she did track them down, she was overwhelmed by their willingness to participate in her documentary.
“Nobody refused. They were all very intrigued to hear what they said, what they sounded like,” said Loushy. “It was a very emotional experience to hear their voices for the very first time. Everyone opened the door so kindly.”
The tapes present a population of soldiers who are deeply disturbed and conflicted about their wartime acts.
In the film, which premiered at the recent Sundance Film Festival, the men are shown in present day, listening to their own accounts of their feelings following the war.
“It is not an anti-Israel film in any way. It is an anti-war film,” said producer Daniel Sivan.