FAUDA, THE CHAOS OF LIFE IN ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Fauda is an Israeli written and produced show streaming on Netflix. Like the show itself, the word, fauda, has a double meaning. In Arabic, it means chaos, but it is also used by Israeli Special-Ops members to indicate that an operation has gone bad, for example, if an undercover agent is outed, 'fauda' is the agent's one word signal to his team that something has gone wrong.
Fauda is the story of the Israeli-Palestinian on-going war told from the point of view of a group of Israeli Special Ops forces. When writers Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz pitched the show in Israel, no one wanted it. Israelis were not going to watch a show about the conflict that they were living every day - or so the TV execs thought.
They were wrong. Fauda is Israel's biggest hit TV show of the decade. It is a hit for the same reason that most TV series are hits - great characters and great stories. The main character is Doron (Lior Raz), a member of the Special Ops team whose mission is to capture Palestinian terrorists. He is married with two children and had resigned from the team at the insistence of his wife, but he re-joins the team for one last mission. He stays with the team because there is no such thing as 'one last mission', an end-story in this war where an eye for an eye perpetuates the violence regardless of the best intentions.
The series has been criticized by Palestinians for being pro-Israeli, but there is more than enough blame to go around. In the series opener, the Special Ops team is chasing a terrorist who has killed hundreds of Israelis in random bombings. The Special Ops team go into the West Bank and pose as caterers at the wedding of the terrorist's brother. The team assumes the terrorist will show up for the wedding and he does, but not before things go wrong when the team's cover is blown. The team has to shoot its way out and the groom is killed. This random killing of innocent Palestinians happens all the time in the series. Dozens of Palestinians are killed as 'collateral damage' and there is not one investigation, not one protest, not even an apology.
There are about a dozen characters, Israeli and Palestinian, who are central to the story and each of them pays a price for living in the conflict. What distinguishes the series are these well-drawn, complex characters who want to get on with their lives, but who are stuck in a world of double-dealing, lying, violence and revenge. A few on both sides of the conflict straddle the cultural divide, but they are soon killed or forced to chose.
Fauda is not a polemic about the ravages of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. It is an expertly told story about the people who are trapped in this conflict, on both sides. As the violence spreads like the Black Death over their communities, these characters meet, fall in love, marry, divorce, have kids, argue - they go about doing all of the things we all do in our lives, except their lives are tinged with the sorrow of knowing someone, often a family member, who was killed 'by the other side' in the conflict.
Watching this series from America, you are put into the middle of a war zone where there seems to be no right, just all wrong, just all expediency and revenge. Both Israeli and Palestinian politics play a major part in the series and this layer of politics just adds to the moral ambiguity of both sides' actions. One thing looms over every life, every decision, every attempt to live a normal life - the battle for the land that both sides claim as its own. No matter how non-political some Israelis and Palestinians try to be, the conflict will find them and suck them into the maelstrom, into fauda
FAUDA on Netflix, streaming all episodes
Created by Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff
Starring Lior Raz, Hisham Sulliman, Shadi Ma'ari, Laëtitia Eïdo, Tzachi Halevy, Yuval Segal, Neta Gerti, Tomer Kapon, Itzik Cohen, Rona-Li Shimon
Country of origin: Israel Original languages: Hebrew and Arabic
No. of seasons2, No. of episodes24