When Margalit and Ilan fight all the village people run to hide behind closed doors, because they are not just screaming at one another. They are fighting over the most valuable object in the world: a Key! Not just any key – a 2000-year old holy synagogue key.
A year ago Margalit’s mother died at the age of 101. Since then, 76-year-old spinster Margalit Zinati feels she is the loneliest human being on the planet. As if to add to her misery, Ilan decides to come to live in her village – Pekiin, an ancient rural village in the Galilee Mountains, in order to make himself her successor. Margalit and Ilan’s grandfathers were brothers and that’s why Ilan feels he has the right to take away from Margalit her lifetime traditional and respectable role as keeper of the ancient synagogue key of Pekiin.
Margalit on the other hand, would rather kill herself or give the key to Sadam Hussein before she hands over the key to Ilan. As Margalit and Ilan’s quarrel worsens a third neighbor illegally builds a competiting synagogue next door to Margalit’s synagogue.
Margalit goes crazy, and surprisingly enough she joins forces with her worst enemy Ilan to defeat the foreign enemy who is invading the village to steal her role in history. At a rare moment of cease fire, Ilan says that his war with Margalit symbolizes the essence of the Middle East conflict but on a small scale: “When an outside enemy attacks, all the Jews, in spite of their domestic disagreements, gather & unite But when that conflict is over, the Jews will eat one another alive and the Arabs will sit on the balcony and laugh to death” he says & laughs bitterly.
Margalit and Ilan’s fierce struggle turns The Key into a tragic and ironic parable about life in a land with an excessive “over weight” of holy sites and exaggerated self -centered notion of religiousness.