HBO to create show on 2014 kidnapping of 3 Israeli teens

10-episode drama to be co-produced with Israel’s Keshet and filmed in Israel next summer

The three kidnapped teens, from left to right: Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel (Photo credit: Courtesy)
The three kidnapped teens, from left to right: Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel (Photo credit: Courtesy)

The American premium cable channel HBO will team up with Israeli production company Keshet International to produce a drama series about the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens two years ago, the companies said.

The weeks-long search for Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel, who were kidnapped and killed by a Hamas cell in the West Bank, dramatically raised tensions in the lead-up to the 2014 Gaza war.

The 10-episode series will be filmed on location in Israel next summer and will primarily be directed by Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar, best known for his two Oscar-nominated pictures, “Beaufort” and “Footnote.” It was created by Hagai Levi — who was behind HBO’s “In Treatment” and the Golden Globe-winning “The Affair” — together with Noah Stollman.

The plot will focus on an “idealistic investigator for the Shin Bet,” a joint statement said. “A new command position thrusts him into a confrontation that undermines his faith and worldview, leading to a dramatic conflict between his values and the actions of those closest to him.”

Fraenkel,16, Shaar; 16, and Yifrach, 19, were abducted from a West Bank hitchhiking post on June 12 and killed shortly thereafter.

The abduction sparked a massive search operation and crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, with hundreds of members of the organization arrested. Tensions were further ratcheted up after the teens’ bodies were found outside Hebron at the end of June, and an East Jerusalem teen was killed by a group Jewish Israelis in an apparent revenge attack, sparking days of unrest throughout the country and in the West Bank and heavy rocket fire on Israel.

On July 8, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stymie the rocket fire with airstrikes and later carried out a limited ground incursion into Gaza to destroy a network of cross-border tunnels.

HBO executives said it was important to share the story.

“We’re excited to work with Keshet and this extremely talented and creative group led by Hagai Levi. We look forward to sharing this important story with our subscribers,” said HBO programming chief Casey Bloys.

“We are thrilled to partner with HBO, the ultimate quality TV powerhouse,” said Avi Nir, the CEO of the Keshet Media Group.

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