The “Fauda” series convinces that without the Israeli confidence, courage and strength even the European Union is powerless against those who – using the language of George W. Bush – “hate our way of life”
On the one hand, the “Fauda” series evokes reluctance and barely concealed rejection, even by some media in Israel. On the other hand it arises admiration, not only among Jews. The Left criticizes the film’s military message. The Right tries to tie her to its carriage. And the creators, although they are far from political manifestos, convince the world that Israel must be ruthless in the war against terrorism.
“You’ve already had military victories and control over the image of Israeli occupation in culture: at least give Palestinians a possibility to hate “Fauda”. Is international and commercial success on Netflix serving Israel’s writings not enough for you?” – asked the Israeli writer and columnist Sayed Kashua in 2018 in the left-wing daily Haaretz. This harsh comment came after the premiere of the third season of the series, in which the creators dealt with the plight of Palestinians the most of any series.
In 2022, Sheren Falah Saab wrote in the same newspaper that in the fourth season of “Fauda” the Palestinians are still an object serving the Israeli narrative. One that can be stepped on, trampled, cursed and called a son of a bitch”.
Created in 2014 by Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, a journalist (employee of Haaretz, among others), the series is sometimes seen as a tool for spreading Israeli nationalist political and historical perception. At the same time, even its critics find it hard to deny its extraordinary realism.
Lennon will not fight terrorism
Lior Raz was a commando in the elite anti-terrorist unit Sayaret Duvdevan, whose soldiers work undercover. In 1990, Raza’s girlfriend was murdered in Jerusalem. A Palestinian terrorist stabbed her with a 15 cm knife. He was released from prison in 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit after five years. Hamas traded him for over a thousand Islamic terrorists.
Raz went to the USA, where he worked in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s security, which may have encouraged him to return to Israel to act as an actor. The artistic teaming up of an ex-soldier whose girlfriend was murdered by a Palestinian with Issacharoff, a journalist for the liberal Israeli media, produced an astonishing result. “Fauda” has become a phenomenon that, on the one hand, outrages pretentious aesthetes who believe that terrorism can be fought with the help of John Lennon’s songs, and on the other hand, it opened many Israelis’ eyes to the fate of Palestinians.
Lior Raz said in interviews that after the first season, he received a lot of emails from Israelis, who for the first time felt sympathy for Palestinians. At the same time, the series removes the veil of silence from what is happening in the lives of the soldiers who are on the front lines of the fight for Israel's security. Once he plays the lead role of Doron Kavillio, who pays the highest personal price for his service in four seasons. Hamas murders his family members, his marriage breaks down, and post-traumatic stress disorder is the smallest affliction that massacres his psyche.
The rest of the characters in the squad are equally solidly written and well played. Their family problems, nervous breakdowns, wounds and death (I will not make spoilers for those who have not seen the series) in each subsequent season aroused surprisingly strong emotions in me, and yet as a film critic I am immune to film manipulation. The truth about the essence of brotherhood in arms, which can be seen in the best war stories, resounds here. The war on terror can never be completely won. Eliminating one leader immediately brings about the creation of several new ones. Ultimately, you can only try to control the world of terrorism and defend your friends. “Fauda” proves it just perfectly.
It is an honest story about male friendship, sacrifice and family ties that can save, but also lead to damnation. Not only do we look into the homes of Israeli commandos and their commanders, seeing the price that their families pay for their service, but we begin to understand what makes that a ruthless and brutal terrorist, for example is made of a promising athlete, a sensitive boy from a “good home” or ordinary women who turn into bloodthirsty istishhads (martyrs).
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