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.