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Netflix Picks Up Israeli Political Thriller ‘Fauda’

Netflix has picked up “Fauda,” the nail-biting Israeli television series about a deep-cover unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. The streaming site will begin airing the drama’s first season, which played to critical acclaim on Israeli satellite network YES last year, on Dec. 2.

Netflix has also purchased rights to “Fauda’s” second season, which is in production.

“Fauda” follows a close-knit unit of mista’arvim, the commando unit of the Israel army whose soldiers are trained in the language, dress and mannerisms of Palestinians, and whose undercover work is hailed in Israel for scuppering terror attacks and guiding military operations.

The show was the most-watched in YES history and also earned a best drama statue at the 2015 Israeli version of the Emmys.

The series was created by Avi Issacharoff, a journalist and Arab affairs specialist, and actor Lior Raz, and directed by Assaf Bernstein. The show broke barriers in Israel by giving its Arab characters equal screen time and equally complex backstories as its Jewish characters. The terrorists, in this show, are as much fathers and brothers as they are combatants, and are drawn with equal complexity as the Jewish soldiers. Neither side, the show insists, is innocent.

With both Arabic and Hebrew dialogue, the show also found its way into Palestinian audiences’ hearts, and its plot twists, hostage negotiations and close-combat battle scenes were rehashed on Arabic social media at a level never before seen for Israeli television.

The Netflix deal was brokered by Hadas Mozes Lictenstein from ADD Content Agency and Danna Stern from Yes DBS Satellite. According to the deal, Fauda will be dubbed a Netflix Original Series — the first-ever Israeli series to receive such a label.

The show will be aired in its original languages of Arabic and Hebrew, with English subtitles.

Issacharoff and Raz will be on hand in Los Angeles for a screening and premiere party on Nov. 28.

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