Labor rewarded

‘Arab Labor’ TV show sweeps local awards

Third season of Sayed Kashua’s comedy about an Arab journalist wins five trophies at annual ceremony of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Sayed Kashua winks to the press (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash 90)
Sayed Kashua winks to the press (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash 90)

Sayed Kashua’s “Avoda Aravit” (“Arab Labor”) was the big winner in the weekend’s annual Israeli Academy of Film and Television awards. With trophies in each category in which it was nominated, including Best Comedy, Best Lead Actor in a Comedy, Best Lead Actress in a Comedy, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, screenwriter Kashua quipped, “We get about 20% of the prizes, just like our percentage of the population.”

“Avoda Aravit” is Israel’s first prime-time television show that depicts Arabic-speaking main characters, and takes a comical look at the cultural divide between Arabs and Jews in Israel. The show, which centers on the story of Amjad (played by actor Norman Issa), an Arab journalist trapped in an identity crisis, mirrors Kashua’s own life as a journalist and writer, which he also recounts in a weekly Haaretz magazine column. Filming of the show’s fourth season is currently under way.

The documentary reality show “Chai be La La Land” — about a Los Angeles-based competition between Israeli singers and which also features Arab rapper SAZ from Ramle — was the winner in its category.

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