A MURDERER: Human-hunting for radical settlers from the West Bank turns into a gifted psychological portrait of a tormented soul.

Fafner is a regular critic in MODERN TIMES. Resides in Tel Aviv.
Email: fafner4@yahoo.dk
Published: 2020-03-12
Chasing Yehoshua

Shay Fogelman (Israel)

One morning in 2004, everything went really wrong. Palæstinenseren Sael Jabara al Shatiyam was on the way in his old blue boxcar, a well used one Ford Transit. Previously, he had lost his job Israel, and he was now working on unofficial taxi driving West Bank. He had eight passengers in the car when he spotted an Israeli checkpoint on the road. Convinced that the soldiers would stop him, he did as Palestinians usually do: He took a dirt road to get around the checkpoint.

As he approached the main road again, Sael Jabara al Shatiyam had to speed up to cope with a steep climb through the gravel. He was seen by Yehoshua Elitzur from the radical settlement of Itamar, located in the area. The settler stopped the car, opened fire with his M16 rifle and fatally wounded the Palestinian driver. The settler was arrested and charged with manslaughter, but surprisingly, the court has provisionally decided to place him under house arrest. At the next scheduled hearing, Elitzur had disappeared without a trace.

The monastery of Ettal

Shay Fogelman, a journalist at the newspaper Haaretz i Tel Aviv, was caught by history. The court's gentle treatment surprised him, and he wondered why authorities had done almost nothing to find Yehoshua Elitzur. He started his own human hunt, but what he considered a task for the newspaper in a month's time evolved into a drama that spanned ten years. Now he has turned his many travels into a gripping documentary, which was on the program at this year's DocAviv, the Tel Aviv documentary.

Why did Elitzur stop the car, get out and shoot a Palestinian?

Fogelman has an interesting story to tell, but most of all, the film has become a psychological portrait of Yehoshua Elitzur. The man lived alone in a self-built cottage in Itamar. He worked in another settlement in the area, and despite being part of the community, no one seemed to really know him. It turns out that Elitzur is from Pfarrkirchen, a small town in southern Bavaria. Previously, he was named…

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