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Soldier On the Roof cover photo

Soldier On the Roof 2012


Distributed by Ruth Diskin Films Ltd., P.O.Box 7153, Jerusalem, 91071, ISRAEL
Produced by Sarphati Media production, in co-production with VPRO Television
Directed by Esther Hertog, Harry deWinter, Gijs vande Westelaken
DVD, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Arab-Israeli Conflict, Judaism, Middle East, West Bank, Hebron

Date Entered: 02/14/2014

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

Hebron is on the West Bank and home to the tomb of the Patriarch Abraham and some 120,000 Palestinians and 800 Jewish settlers. Relations are tense and there seems to be no love lost between the Jews and their neighbors. There are several hundred soldiers who guard these settlers and the title is a reference to the musical “Fiddler on the roof” and how precarious the soldiers’ and settlers’ lives are. The director is an Israeli-Dutch filmmaker who spent three years with the settlers in order to understand them. To this reviewer what stands out and what seems to be missed by the contemporary secular mindset is the theological root of the conflict in the Middle East. There are some fundamental theologic differences between Judaism and Islam (for example, does the covenant go through Isaac or Ishmael?) that cannot and will never be reconciled. This conflict has been going on for many centuries and will not be ending any time soon. The film is well-done technically with the dialogue in Arabic and Hebrew with subtitles. Seeing the lives of the settlers up close is interesting and Hertog does well in showing the settlers lives, but giving a relative snapshot of a long, long history may not give as much insight as one may think. Thought provoking – yes, the final word – no.


  • IDFA Award for First Appearance 2012
  • Dioraphte IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary 2012