Israel is commonly identified with the export of advanced technology; however, in recent years, a new export industry has developed in Israel: television series. After many years, it appears that the Israeli TV industry has become very professional and has managed to produce advanced, modern program content that meets the standards of overseas audiences. Israelis are creative and ambitious and have a great capacity for adapting themselves to new situations and for dealing with rigorous demands. These traits and the fact that Israeli viewers have high standards actually turns the Israeli TV audience into an effective focus group for content development. Although most TV series deal with the complex Israeli reality – secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jews and Arabs, Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews – Israeli series focusing on security issues are particularly appealing to viewers. One Israeli TV series that has been sold to overseas buyers and which has become a success story is, as it is known by its American title, “Homeland.” We have chosen to present to you the hottest Israeli TV series, all of which are original productions; you might encounter them one day on your TV screen back home.

 

“Doubled” is an eight-part suspense series that describes the story of five ordinary Israeli citizens – a kindergarten teacher, a chemist, a bride on her wedding day, an Israeli who is a new immigrant and a young man who has just returned to Israel from a trip to India. They suddenly find themselves embroiled in a turbulent espionage affair attributed to the Mossad. The five discover that, because they each have two passports (an Israeli passport and a foreign one), the Mossad utilized their identities in an incident involving the kidnapping from a Moscow hotel of the Iranian defense minister. From this point, the story develops into a fast-paced plot involving an escape from Israel, shootouts, and citizens whose routine lives have become completely disrupted. Even before it was aired on Israeli television, the series became an instant international success and was sold to the French pay TV channel Canal Plus and Fox International Channels, which gave it the American title, “False Flag.”

 

“The Screenwriter” is a series written by Sayed Kashua, a Palestinian who is also an Israeli citizen and one of the country’s most talented writers. Kashua, an author and journalist who writes a column in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, presents the Israeli public with a mirror that shows the dilemmas of Israeli Arabs in Israel. The series focuses on the frustration of an author who wants to write about his mid-life crisis but has been asked to write about Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. It presents the chief protagonist and the members of his family, highlighting the manner in which they deal with the schism in their identity, in their sense of belonging and in their definition of their own nationality. In the series, viewers are exposed to the nature of the chief protagonist’s relationship with his family, with society, with his neighbors and with the country in which he lives.

 

The source of the word “Fauda,” the title of one of Israel TV’s hottest series, is Arabic; the word means “chaos.” This superb action/dramatic series has been warmly received by critics and has earned considerable praise. The series is about the commander of an Israeli undercover unit (Israeli security forces personnel who go undercover as Arabs in order to operate within the Arab population for the purpose of obtaining vital security intelligence). Doron, the commander of this unit, is in pursuit of a senior member of Hamas. The endless pursuit carries a heavy price tag both physically and emotionally for Doron and the members of his unit: Tragedies and losses are experienced by Doron and his unit and, as a consequence, they are forced to make major changes in their lives. This cliff-hanger suspense series will keep viewers glued to the TV screen. The screenplay is based on the personal experiences of the series’ creators and it takes viewers to fascinating places: Will Doron manage to apprehend the person whom he is looking for and who is responsible for the deaths of over 100 Israelis? Will one of the members of Doron’s units be killed or will he live? And will good triumph over evil?

 

Shtisel is an Israeli drama series about the lives of the members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family residing in Jerusalem. ity is a closed world that is a mystery to many Israelis and, generally speaking, secularThe central issues in this series are marital relations, the parent-child relationship and relationships between siblings. The ultra-Orthodox Jewish commun Israeli Jews are unaware of the daily life style of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Thus, the series, which provides a glimpse into this world, has aroused great interest among members of the general public. The series’ creators themselves come from the ultra-Orthodox/Modern Orthodox Jewish world and have incorporated in the series their particular insights regarding the ultra-Orthodox Jewish way of life. “Shtisel” has been shown and distributed at many international festivals; Pretty Pictures in France and Axess TV in Sweden have bought the foreign broadcast and distribution rights for this TV series.

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