Soldier on the Roof
Castro TheatreThu, Aug 1, 2013 3:50 PM Not Available
California TheatreSat, Aug 3, 2013 4:00 PM Not Available
Cinearts at Palo Alto SquareSun, Aug 4, 2013 4:00 PM Not Available
Film Info
Director(s):Esther Hertog
Year of Production:2012
Running Time:80
Language(s):English and Hebrew with English subtitles
Premiere Status:North American Premiere
Genre-Subject:Israelis and Arabs

Who wants to live where they aren’t wanted? Where one’s personal safety can only be guaranteed by the presence of a military battalion and a series of checkpoints at which fellow residents are constantly subjected to spot searches? Those are some of the questions viewers are asked to contemplate as they watch Soldier on the Roof, a compelling documentary set among the several hundred Jewish settlers in Hebron on the West Bank. At the site of Abraham’s tomb, the tension encapsulates the larger struggle between Muslims and Jews for land sacred to both faiths. Filmmaker Esther Hertog spent three years living with the settlers, and her film provides us with a sense of the militant faith that fueled their efforts to create their own community amid Hebron’s 120,000 Palestinian residents. We see the settlers in their homes, at play and at prayer. We also see them as they direct their hatred toward their Arab neighbors, derision toward peace organizations and adoration to the young soldiers who protect them 24 hours a day. Soldier on the Roof doesn’t point the viewer toward any potential path of peace and reconciliation. Instead it serves as a poignant reminder of the long, hard road that faces both Israelis and Palestinians committed to peaceful coexistence. —Mark Valentine

Best Documentary, First Appearances, 2012 IDFA, Amsterdam

Director Esther Hertog in person


Additional Information

Born in 1978 in Amsterdam, at the age of 12 Esther Hertog immigrated with her artist family to Israel. There she went to a high school of arts and studied photography. After graduation Esther worked several years as a nature and history tour guide for high school students in Israel From the age of twenty-one Esther traveled twice with her photo camera for long periods to Asia. The resulting photos were shown in a photography exhibition in Israel. Inspired by what she saw during her work as a tour guide and her travels she returned to the Netherlands for a BA study in Anthropology. Fortunately she found a way to combine her curiosity of human behavior AND her love for the Visual arts via Visual Anthropology – anthropological documentary filmmaking. Esther completed her BA with the documentary Ossama's Dance, about a Palestinian male belly dancer. This film was screened at several acknowledged international anthropological film-festivals. As her interest in Visual Anthropology grew, Esther continued her studies and completed an MA in Visual anthropology at the Granada Centre at Manchester University, UK. She graduated with a film and thesis based on a two month anthropological research about a circus summer camp for children in a refugee camp in the Westbank titled Hope Despair Laughter. This documentary was also screened at several .international film-festivals Since her graduation in 2007 Esther has worked as camerawoman, researcher and editor on several film projects in the Netherlands, the Middle East and Rwanda. In the meanwhile she has also followed her other interest and became a certified Yoga and AcroYoga .teacher In 2009, while working for a Dutch TV production, Esther found herself being interviewed on a Palestinian rooftop in Hebron. This interview resulted in her being assaulted by a gang of young Israeli settler boys. This was a major turning point for Esther.