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After the Silence (English)

After the Silence (English)


Two women break the vicious circle of violence

The Israeli woman Yael Armanet loses her husband in a suicide bombing by a Palestinian from Jenin and inspired by Ismael Khatib's gesture, sets out to visit the suicide bomber's family in Jenin to get answers about what happened. The film was made possible and co-produced by the Palestinian Cinema Jenin.

Original languages : English, ArabicSubtitles : English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Bulgarian, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, Slovakian, Slovenian, Czech, Turkish, Ukrainian, HungarianLength : 81 minutesRelease : 2024


After the Silence

A Jewish woman loses her husband in a suicide bombing in Israel. In search of answers, she decides to travel to the West Bank city of Jenin to meet the suicide bomber’s parents.

Two young German fimmakers go to Palestine where, together with Manal, a Palestinian student from Jenin, they try to find out what really happened on March 31, 2002: Shadi Tobassi, a suicide bomber from Jenin, blew himself up in Haifa, killing 15 people. Among those killed was Dov Chernobroda, an Israeli architect, who for his entire life had tried to bring about a peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine. Eight years later, his wife Yaël would like to visit the family of the suicide bomber in Jenin. Yaël often uses the word “terrorist” when she speaks of Shadi. And then – for the first time in her life – she is able to say his name: Shadi Tobassi: “Every person has a name,” she says. But she cannot imagine looking him straight in the eyes. Despite her turmoil of emotions she still wishes to visit Jenin in a peaceful attempt to break down the wall of silence. Her husband would have been the first to encourage her to do so. Why does a young man leave the house in the morning, saying Good‐bye to his parents like on every other day? Saying he won’t be late coming home from work and only a few hours later detonates an explosive belt hidden under his shirt?

“With overwhelming strength to a new beginning“

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“The story of an incredible encounter“

Spiegel Online

“Natural, touching and with a conciliatory message“


“Every person has a name. That’s why I no longer just call him “the terrorist”. I call him by his name: Shadi Tobassi.“

Yaël Armanet-Chernobroda

Trilogy of Hope

Three films tell stories of freedom and peace

The three films “Heart of Jenin”, “Cinema Jenin” and “After the Silence” wonderfully tell the complex history of Palestine using the example of the city of Jenin. There are three films of hope, but also of despair. But above all, these stories show that it is worth dreaming.

More Information

Director´s Statement

by Jule Ott and Stefanie Bürger

“Why did he do it? “ People keep asking us this question over and over again, now, that we are back from Jenin. Now, after getting to know his family. Now, after asking his father, his brother the same question.

Why does a young man leave the house in the morning, saying Good-bye to his parents like on every other day? Saying he won’t be late coming home from work and only a few hours later detonates an explosive belt hidden under his shirt? Eight years after the attack we are trying to understand what seems unimaginable.
It is our first trip to the West Banks and Israel. Everything is new, everything is different. We only know about the conflict what is said on the news – Near East so far away. And suddenly we are right there. Two weeks after completing our studies, after graduation.

We are still students when our documentary film university lecturer Marcus Vetter asks us at the end of a class what we would like to do after graduation. It doesn’t even come to our minds then to mention making a documentary as first time film directors. One and a half years later and Marcus is our producer. We start the shoot with the vision that it will work out as long as you believe in the idea.

We are asking Zakaria Tobassi, the perpetrator’s father, if the family suspected something when we met him for the second time. Two young, female filmmakers, inexperienced – not only in terms of film making but also in regard to the Arabic culture. The father suggests friendly that we should be wearing headscarves if we wanted to go to heaven. We nod and ask about the Why, the time before and after the attack, if the father noticed any changes in his son. He didn’t notice anything is the reply of the religious man.

A few days later our Palestinian producer Fakhri Hamad takes us aside. He is aggravated: “Did you really ask him if he knew about it? Do you even understand what this might mean for the whole family? Which consequences this could have if the father had known something? These are the kind of questions that arouse distrust. After all, you could be from the Mossad. “

After that, we don’t shoot for a long time. We just can’t get close to the family. So we keep visiting them over and over again. Just because and without the camera. Quite often even without an interpreter. The whole thing is a slow process and luckily, we can take advantage of a rare luxury in the film making business: working without time pressure. Only because of this are we able to stay calm even in difficult situations, this allows us to improvise and adjust to the family and their own rhythm. Slowly, we are winning their trust and they ours. And then, finally, we are allowed again to bring the camera along. “How did you do that?” an Israeli asks us incredulously. “How did you get them to talk? “ We didn’t get them to talk. They decided to talk for themselves, because they trusted us.

When father Tobassi listens to his heart of hearts, he simply knows that these two women are not from the Israeli secret service. Maybe he believes us to be a little naive, but definitely not dangerous. When we look deep inside ourselves, we just know that he really didn’t know anything about his son’s plans. Some may believe us to be a little naive because of that.

At one point or another we stopped pondering this question. We don’t want having to explain why Shadi killed himself and 15 other people with him. The film is supposed to give an insight into the emotional world of the bereaved. We want to tell about what comes after, after death, after silence, after the shock. What happened to the relatives and what did the dead leave behind for them.

Dov, the Israeli architect and peace activist, who was fatally injured in the back of his head by a splinter, left an idea behind: There can be no peace as long as the enemies don’t talk with each other.

Eight years after the attack the widow Yael dares to visit Shadi’s family in Jenin. Trusting us probably helped in the matter. And the Tobassi family is brave enough to invite her into their living room in Jenin.

We want to tell the story about the cautious reapprochement of both sides.

“There won‘t be peace until the enemies start to talk.“

Dov Chernobroda

Press & Reviews

“We didn’t send him”

The film by Bürger and Ott is, of course, touching and has a conciliatory message.

Film review: After the silence

If an emotionalizing drama in the form of a documentary addresses the difficult issue of the Middle East conflict, it is clear that it will not only meet with mutual love.

Women fight for peace

The film tells the story of Israeli Yael Armanet-Chernobroda, who lost her husband Dov to a suicide bomb and traveled to Palestine to meet the assassin’s family and seek reconciliation.

Interview with producer Marcus Vetter

After the Silence ”shows impressively that reconciliation can make living together in the Middle East possible.
Text zum Film 

“It was like closing a book”

With a superhuman strength to a new start: An Israeli widow meets the parents of the Palestinian suicide bomber who killed her husband.
Süddeutsche Zeitung

Family meet in enemy territory

The documentary tells the story of an incredible encounter.
Spiegel Online

Courage to dream

And now the film has started its life without us,” she says, smiling.
Süddeutsche Zeitung

Hand in hand

Death, grief and an emotional encounter.

Festivals & Awards


2011 Germany Doc.Fest Munich
2011 Germany Fünf Seen Festival
2011 Germany Stuttgarter Filmwinter
2011 Poland Festival Camera Obscura
2011 Israel Haifa International Filmfestival
2011 UAE Dubai International Filmfestival
2011 Germany Filmfest Osnabrück
2011 Germany Cinema For Peace
2012 USA Worldfest Houston
2013 USA Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival
2013 Australia Jewish Film Festival Brisbane


2011 Horizonte-Film Award Fünf Seen Filmfestival
2011 Grand Prix de Ryszard Kapuscinski
2011 Cinema for Peace Award
Nominated for Best Documentary
2011 Audience Award Doc.fest Munich
2012 Gold Remi – International Houston Filmfestival

“After a while it was written on the news flash that Shadi Tobassi committed the bombing. I couldn‘t accept it. Is it really my brother who did this operation? Then I took my mobile and gave him a call. The line was dead.“

Said Tobassi


Impressions from the film