The recent release of the documentary, “The Green Prince,” came at the perfect time. After a summer of Operation Protective Edge, we could use a breath of hope and optimism. On its surface, the film tells the story of Mosab Hassan Yousef, a Hamas informant, and his Shin Bet enlister and handler, Gonen ben Yitzhak. Digging a bit deeper, however, reveals an inspiring story of friendship, loyalty and admiration between two individuals who had every reason to hate and mistrust each other.
For ten years, the two collaborated to foil Hamas’s terrorist activities. Both were creative and unorthodox; both were courageous and both took paths that transcended the constraints of their ingrained politics and ideologies. They found and followed their own moral compasses, taking on the responsibility of acting on those convictions.
In the present context of fragile, temporary cease-fires and fierce armed conflict, one has to ask oneself, “How did this Palestinian and this Israeli, each entrenched on opposite sides of a decades long conflict, overcome those external barriers to develop this kind of selfless bond? What was their secret?”
This is one small story about just two people, but it is a story with a very big message.
This film serves as a reminder and inspiration that it is through individual people that both peace and war are waged, and that tolerance, understanding and acceptance are flip sides of intolerance, revenge and hatred. Each of us is capable of forming relationships with anyone; it is a mental barrier that tells us otherwise.
At some point, that seed of hope at the core of “The Green Prince” must take root.
This originally appeared in the Jewish Journal on September 18, 2014.