Abot Hameiri has bought adaptation rights to prominent Israeli journalist Ben Caspit’s “The Netanyahu Years,” a bestselling biography of the politically canny but divisive and scandal-haunted figure known at home as Bibi. Netanyahu’s bid to continue his tenure as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister is currently in doubt.
The book sheds light on little-known aspects of Netanyahu’s life and focuses on how his personality has shaped Israel’s political and security establishment.
“It’s the biggest IP we can deliver out of Israel today to the world,” said Guy Hameiri, co-founder of Abot Hameiri. “Nobody has influenced our country in the past 20 years more than Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Hameiri described the series as “an epic political story with a very big philosophical and psychological undertone.” At the same time, it will be “a super-juicy family melodrama that explores how the personal can become political, and vice versa.”
Netanyahu “was the first one to bring in [populist] tactics that we see now in a lot of leaders,” Hameiri said. “What Trump is doing [now] is something that Bibi has been doing from way back.”
However, the series “will chase these ideas and not judge the character,” Hameiri added.
Though there are several documentaries about Netanyahu, this will mark the first TV series about his life. Born in Tel Aviv in 1949, Netanyahu attended high school near Philadelphia and later studied at M.I.T. before becoming a rising star during the early 1980s as a diplomat at Israel’s embassy in Washington.
His older brother Yoni, an officer in the Israeli army’s elite Sayaret Matkal unit, in which Benjamin also served, was killed in the 1976 hostage-rescue mission in Entebbe. Netanyahu’s role commemorating his brother gave him intense public exposure and is basically why “Bibi became a political figure,” said Hameiri.
Caspit will be a consultant on the show, for which a writer has not yet been announced. Hameiri said the plan is to “finish development before the end of the year,” with writing and production to take place next year.
Tel Aviv-based About Hameiri, which is is best-known for entertainment formats and reality shows, is currently seeking to take its premium-drama output to the next level after scoring a global hit with “Shtisel,” the dramedy about an ultra-Orthodox family in Jerusalem.
Fremantle’s drama slate includes “The New Pope,” “La Jauria,” “Fertile Crescent,” “The Luminaries,” “Dublin Murders,” Richard Mason’s upcoming “Michelangelo” and Luca Guadagnino’s “We Are Who We Are.”