In the summer of 2010, 18-year-old Chamoetal Zeidler, sister to filmmaker Dikla Zeidler, started her 2 years of mandatory military service in the Spokesperson’s Unit of the Israeli Army (IDF). With an Israeli father and a Dutch mother, growing up both in Israel and in the Netherlands, going to the army wasn’t the obvious choice for the Zeidler sisters. The filmmaker herself chose not to serve and lives in the Netherlands.
Out of curiosity how the younger sister will develop within the army, Dikla Zeidler decided to film her sister during her army service. She also gave Chamoetal a camera. In the material captured by both sisters it becomes clear how Chamoetal experiences her time in the army and how she transforms from a teenager into a grown-up soldier, who must justify all IDF actions.
In addition to Chamoetal, we also meet Amit, the father of the Zeidler family. He is one of the hundreds of thousands of (veteran) soldiers who, in times of war, was involved in actions he didn’t always agree with – but that seemed necessary for the existence of Israel. Amit never talked about his time in the IDF before, but armed with a camera, Dikla (balancing her “roles” as creator of the film and daughter) dared to ask her father questions about the impact of the Israeli army on his life for the first time. An army that because of its mandatory military service can protect (nearly) every family in Israel, but at the same time causes a collective trauma.
In this personal documentary, Sister, Soldier, Dikla Zeidler explores how a person is able to make certain decisions and deal with certain situations that do not always match with his/her ethical beliefs, but that do seem necessary within a certain context. How far is sister Chamoetal ready to go for the army? And within which limit father Amit was prepared to fight for Israel?
Sister, Soldier (53 minutes) will be broadcast on 8 May 2013, at 11PM on Dutch Television (EO, Holland Doc).