‘Fauda’ Writer, Producer Reteam on Israeli Crime Series ‘District Y’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Leora Kamenetzky and Liat Benasuly – the writer and producer, respectively, behind terrorism drama “Fauda” – are reteaming on “District Y,” a high-voltage crime series set in Jaffa, a mixed Jewish and Arab city caught up in the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kamenetzky created the 10-episode series, which is inspired by true events. Benasuly is developing the series via her banner L. Benasuly Productions, with Kan (Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation) co-developing. Benasuly will pitch the series at Series Mania’s forum in Lille.

“District Y,” to be shot in Hebrew and Arabic, takes place after the accidental murder of a Jewish newcomer in a crime-ridden neighborhood Jaffa. The series centers on a new special police unit made up of cops who know the area from within and are tasked to imprison the ringleaders of a Palestinian crime clan involved in Jaffa’s narcotics black market. “Cleaning up” the area becomes a priority for the homeland security minister, who’s eager to lure real estate investors.

The series’ main characters are Michel Mahjar, a police officer who is half Arab and half Jewish and who experiences an identity crisis when his pregnant wife asks him to convert to Judaism for the sake of their future son, and Sasha Zaritski, an officer who was born in Ukraine and has lived in Jaffa since she was 17. No one knows she isn’t Jewish and was once married.

The two cops are chasing Hassan Abu Adham, the leader of a crime family that comprises more than 100 people and appears to be highly dysfunctional.

Speaking to Variety, Benasuly said the series was a mix of “The Wire” and “Fauda” (pictured), as it blurs the lines between political and criminal issues and between the Jewish and Arab communities within Jaffa.

“Jaffa is located only five minute from Tel Aviv, and it’s a different world – you have religious [Jewish] people living next to Arabs,” said Benasuly, adding that a special police squad was set up to curb crime in the area.

Kamenetzky, who was the script editor of the first season of “Fauda,” said the series is inspired by her own life and the lives of her neighbors. “I live in Jaffa; every thing in the series is everyday life here,” said the creator/writer.

Benasuly said the cast might include several actors from “Fauda,” a jihadist manhunt thriller created by Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz. The series, which was commissioned by Yes TV in Israel, is considered one of Netflix’s most successful foreign-language original shows.

Benasuly said the success of “Fauda” had boosted the appetite of Israeli broadcasters for thought-provoking TV shows that sparked debate in Israel and beyond.

More TV

  • Baldvin-Z

    Iceland’s Baldvin Z Crime Series “Black Sands” Added to All3Media Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden  All3Media is to handle international rights on Icelandic crime series “Black Sands” which, currently in development, is to be pitched at the Göteborg Festival’s TV Drama Vision confab on Thursday. “Black Sands” marks the first crime thriller to be created by Icelandic helmer Baldvin Z (“Trapped”) since the hit series “Case.” Commissioned by [...]

  • Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the

    Ad Time in Fox's Super Bowl Was Sold Out. Until it Wasn't

    Fox declared in November that it had sold all the advertising time available in its looming February 2 broadcast of Super Bowl LIV. But just this week, it found a little more. After holding nearly two months’ worth of discussions, Fox and the National Football League have devised a way to add commercial inventory to [...]

  • NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe'

    NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe' From 'House' Alums

    NBC has given out its fifth drama pilot order for the 2020-2021 season. The broadcaster has commissioned “Ordinary Joe.” It explores the three parallel lives of the show’s main character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho 'Parasite' Director

    Listen: Who Will Take Home the Oscars for Best Director and Picture?

    The Oscars are just two weeks away, so it’s time to start making final predictions about who is going to win. On this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, I invited the magazine’s deputy awards and features editor (and my “Pick of the Week” co-host) Jenelle Riley onto the show [...]

  • Dazzler, Tigra, Hit-Monkey, and M.O.D.O.K.

    'Howard the Duck,' 'Tigra & Dazzler' Animated Marvel Shows Not Moving Forward at Hulu

    Marvel Television’s remaining slate continues to dwindle. Variety has confirmed that the animated shows “Howard the Duck” and “Tigra & Dazzler” — two of four animated Marvel projects set up at Hulu — are no longer in the works at the streamer. The other two shows, “M.O.D.O.K” and “Hit Monkey,” are currently still on track [...]

  • Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi movie

    After 'Star Wars' Obi-Wan Kenobi Delay, Is the Force Still Strong With Disney Plus?

    The issues on Disney Plus’ Obi-Wan Kenobi series are either a minor stumble or a portent of trouble ahead, depending on who you ask. It was reported on Thursday that series writer Hossein Amini was no longer attached to the project as Disney wished to overhaul the scripts. The move led to pre-production in London [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content