Silence of the Sirens

70 Minutes, 2003
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Directed by: Ori Inbar
Cast: Yoram Hattab, Ami Weinberg, Gil Frank, Assi Dayan, Ruth Geller, Nathan Datnner
Production Company:שלח ריקי
Photographer: Giora Bikh
Original Music: Shem Tov Levi
Language: Hebrew
Subtitles: English, Hebrew

Director Ori Inbar’s made-for-TV movie, whose script was penned by screenwriter and playwright, Motti Lerner, is originally based on Uri Bar-Joseph’s book, The Watchman Fell Asleep: The Surprise of Yom Kippur and its Sources. The film aired on Israeli broadcaster, Channel 2, and took home an Israeli Academy Award for Best Made-for-TV Film.

Silence of the Sirens follows the chain of events that led up to the Yom Kippur War scandal through the prism of the various conflicts and disagreements around the likelihood of such a war even breaking out when it (eventually) did. The explores the convictions held by some of the highest-ranking political and military figures of the time, with an emphasis on the research department of the IDF’s Intelligence Branch where head of Intelligence, Victor Gabbay (Yoram Hattab) rang all the alarm bells that war was imminent, only to be ignored by all.
The film opens with the top-secret meeting between Israel’s then-Prime Minister, Golda Meir, and Jordan’s late King Hussein where the latter advises her that Egypt and Syria are plotting an offensive against Israel. This is followed by a portrayal of the sense of utter callousness and smugness that permeated amongst state and military heads at the time – all of whom had still yet to come down from the high of the Six-Day War victory in ’67 – who flat out refused to believe that there could even be another war around the corner. The film later skips forward in time to a dramatisation of numerous sessions from the Agranat National Commission of Inquiry that was set up to investigate the circumstances that led to the war. It ends with the deafening sound of the air raid siren announcing that war is upon us.
Israel’s then-Defence Secretary, Moshe Dayan, is played by his real-life son, Assi Dayan.

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