Synopsis by Mark Deming
Israel has a long tradition of compulsory military service for all its citizens, which had never been called into serious question until the nation went to war against Lebanon in 1982. The war in Lebanon was unpopular from the start with many Israelis, and as it dragged on for 18 years it was regarded as Israel's Vietnam, a conflict that accomplished little besides creating unrest, unifying anti-war activists, and causing many in the nation's military to question the judgment of their commanders. The war in Lebanon also gave birth to the "refusenik" movement -- an anti-conscription campaign in which young people refused to perform their military service due to moral objections over the way the war was fought (with large numbers of civilian casualties). While the refuseniks arose with the war in Lebanon, the movement has yet to die, with a growing number of Israelis questioning the military objectives of their government and the methods they use in battle. Avi Hayakar, Sheket Yorim (aka Dear Father, Quiet, We're Shooting...) is a documentary by filmmaker David Benchetrit which explores both the Israeli-Lebanese war and the rise of refuseniks, with both military veterans and anti-war activists adding their perspectives on this crucial moment in Israel's history.