Israel hopes to clean up with soaps

Israel’s TV industry is hoping to hit the jackpot with a number of recent entries to the TV soap opera market.

One series, “Ramat Aviv Gimmel” (Mediterranean Affairs), has been sold to companies in Italy, Spain, Mexico and Argentina.

The local TV production industry has been boosted in recent years by the introduction of the commercial station Channel 2 and cable television which is obliged by law to make a certain percentage of local production. With names such as “Fools’ Gold” and “Deadly Fortune,” the aim is to sell the Israeli-made soaps in other countries similar in outlook and social climate to Israel.

“We shot the first episodes outdoors to give it a Mediterranean feel,” says Chen Sadan of G.G. Studios, which is owned by Yoram Globus.

The Israeli audience prefers programs in Hebrew, no matter what the programs are, and soap operas are a natural choice as ratings show foreign soaps to be popular on cable TV and the Second Channel.

One of the Israeli production houses, Telemedia, says that it based “Fools’ Gold” on a successful South African soap opera.

“We started to think about how an Israeli soap opera should look and decided that we would take the type of interpersonal relations from a South African soap and place it in an Israeli context,” said Nissan Belkin, managing director of Telemedia.

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