Israelis won over by TV drama ‘Fauda’
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Israelis won over by TV drama ‘Fauda’

Ultra-realistic show about hunt for fictional Hamas terrorist renewed for second season

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

The cast of 'Fauda,' the YES drama about undercover agents in the West Bank, co-created by Avi Issacharoff, who writes for The Times of Israel (Ohad Romano)
The cast of 'Fauda,' the YES drama about undercover agents in the West Bank, co-created by Avi Issacharoff, who writes for The Times of Israel (Ohad Romano)

It’s been just three months since “Fauda” brought the chaos of the West Bank to YES viewers, but the show has become so popular that its actors can’t walk down the street without being stopped by fans.

“I was in Kfar Saba with Tomer [Kapon, who plays Boaz] and Shadi [Mar’i, who plays Walid Al Abed, the assistant to key Hamas operative Abu Ahmed] and someone screamed ‘Abu Ahmed!’ said Avi Issacharoff, the Times of Israel and Walla News analyst who co-wrote the show.

It’s even worse for Lior Raz, his co-writer who plays undercover operative Doron, said Issacharoff.

“He can’t walk anywhere without being stopped by someone,” laughed Issacharoff. Even Issacharoff, a well-known military and Arab analyst, said he’s gotten stopped while running in the park, or by coworkers who want to take smartphone selfies with him.

“These are people who’ve known me for years,” said Issacharoff.

Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, the co-creators of 'Fauda," will dream up some more crazy scenarios for next season (Courtesy YES)
Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, the co-creators of ‘Fauda,” will dream up some more crazy scenarios for next season (Courtesy YES)

Raz, speaking to a reporter from “Good Evening with Guy Pines,” said he’s been reprimanded by fans about how he holds his gun, and for making love to an Arab doctor on the show.

“Fauda” (Arabic for “chaos”), about a team of Israeli undercover operatives trying to capture Abu Ahmed, a notorious (and fictional) Hamas terrorist, has been lauded for its realism, its extensive use of Arabic and the empathy viewers are forced to have for the Hamas characters.

Issacharoff said he was surprised by the way Israeli audiences “fell in love with Hamas terrorists. They cared so much about Walid and Abu Ahmed and that was funny and surprising.”

Now that the show has been renewed, Issacharoff said he and Raz have a host of “crazy ideas and experiences” that will make for another “hectic and crazy” season.

“We didn’t know there would be a second season, which is why we finished the first season with a kind of end,” said Issacharoff.

Haitham Suleiman played terrorist Tawfik Hamed, aka Abu Ahmed, in 'Fauda' (photo credit: Ohad Romano)
Haitham Suleiman played terrorist Tawfik Hamed, aka Abu Ahmed, in ‘Fauda’ (photo credit: Ohad Romano)

But there has been fallout about the show as well, particularly when Hiatham Suleiman, the actor who plays Hamas terrorist Abu Ahmed, said in a recent newspaper interview that he didn’t think an incident in which an Israeli soldier is killed in Palestinian territory could be considered a terrorist act.

Issacharoff said he wasn’t excited about the comment, but wasn’t surprised, either.

“We sometimes expect people to be more Catholic than the pope,” he said “If one Jewish leftie had said that, no one would care, but because he’s an Arab, everyone’s jumping on his back. I don’t think he’s right, but that’s his position, he’s not calling on anyone to kill Israeli soldiers.”

As Issacharoff and Raz work on the next season, they’re also looking to sell “Fauda” to the US market. There is movement, said Isscharoff, and “hopefully we’ll sell it.”

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