Fauda Makes Israeli-Palestinian Conflict a Must-See TV

Photo: Ronen Akerman

Fauda, the first season of the action series of an undercover commando team in the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has become a must-see TV on Netflix.

The company calls it a “global phenomenon” available in 190 countries. Season 2 will be released on May 24.

Fauda (the Arabic word for “chaos”) is not only shootouts and chases, it also dives into the politics and personal life of the commandos and terrorists, portrays their motivations in empathetic and understanding manner.

Although dialogues in Fauda are primarily in Arabic, the series became a hit in Israel, winning awards and honor for humanizing both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The series surprisingly garnered fans among Palestinians and other Arabs countries for showing the complicated conflict and its human cost on both sides.

However, Gaza strip rolled by Hamas militants have blasted Fauda for it is a “Zionist propaganda”. While the boycott-Israel movement BDS says it aims to “whitewash the occupation” and has called on Netflix to remove it.

 

The Arab-Israeli actor who plays Abu Ahmad, a character based on Sheikh Ibrahim Hamed, a Palestinian militant convicted of murdering 54 Israelis told AP “I think some people are confused. This is art. It’s not real,” Hisham Suliman said with a chuckle. “In reality, there are no superheroes.”

No less a thriller authority than Stephen King posted on Twitter “FAUDA, on Netflix. Cool Israeli thriller. With episodes only a little longer than your average sitcom, it’s all killer and no filler.”

When the Israeli creators first came up with its concept, they were doubted whether an action series based on the Mideast conflict would be in interest.

Many elements in the plot are of Co-creator Lior Raz’s own life. Raz, who also plays the lead role of Doron Kavillio said “I just got a message from someone in Turkey who said she hated Israeli soldiers but now understands the complexities better, and some Israelis have also begun to understand the Palestinians better.”

Raz, was an undercover commando who carried out operations similar to those shown in Fauda, and like one of the characters, during his military service, he had a girlfriend who was killed by a Palestinian attacker.

 

Photo: Ronen Akerman

Raz encounters with Avi Issacharoff, an Israeli journalist who focuses on Palestinian affairs and a Middle East analyst, and a childhood friend. They spawned the idea for a drama that combined their backgrounds. At first, no one wanted to touch it.  YES, the Israeli satellite network ran a few episodes and after it became a local sensation they extended its run.

Raz told AP the most he had hoped for was that it would perhaps inspire an American spinoff series, following hits like “Homeland,” ″Hostages” and “In Treatment” that were based on Israeli productions. But Netflix went a step further, running it as-is in its original Hebrew-Arabic form.

Netflix has already commissioned the co-creators to write two new shows for them.

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