I know I am too late to join this party but better late than never as what counts is that now I am here in the league of fans of Israel’s biggest television export in recent times that is none other than Netflix thriller Fauda.
I remember coming across posts on Facebook from some of my Facebook friends from the Western section of the global village we live in. These posts were about Fauda and I had seen them at a time when the only thing I knew about this series was that it was an Israeli series. Nothing more than that. My encounter with Fauda happened in August this year as I was looking for a Middle Eastern series on Netflix and Fauda came as one of the top suggestions. Initially, all I could see was a bald guy with another semi bald guy in the cover photo of season one. These two bald guys were Doron (played by the Israeli actor Lior Raz) who is the commander of an undercover Israeli unit named Mista’arvim (comprises of Israelis who look more like Arabs and can speak flawless Arabic) and Abu Ahmad a terrorist belonging to Hamas. The first season deals with a chase for Abu Ahmed and how he wreaks havoc with his terrorist sidekicks on the aforementioned undercover unit. After causing much harm and killing Boaz the brother-in-law of Doron played by the Israeli actor Tomer Kapon, Abu Ahmed gets killed by his sidekick Walid in an apparent yet tacit on-screen war of succession waged by the sidekick against his master. Each season comprising of twelve episodes has its own set of bad guys as they keep on changing but the good guys on the undercover team remain the same throughout except for the addition of Sagi and the temporary departure of Nurit. The second season deals with a threat bigger than that of Hamas as this time an ISIS terrorist Al Makdasi causes chaos and tumult with his actions but gets his karma with death at the hands of the same guy who killed his father for sympathizing with and facilitating Abu Ahmad. The third season delivers poetic justice against Hamas terrorists based in Gaza named Abu Mohammad.
Every season is filled with immense thrill and intrigue and keeps you high with your adrenaline levels. The action sequences are of the kind that they can also make you skip your heartbeat for a while. The series aims at touching upon the two-sided stories around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as it intends to humanizes the conflict instead of completely demonizing one side or reducing a complex conflict to something as simple as the David and Goliath conflict. The series has Arab characters like Dr. Shirin who becomes the love interest of leading protagonist Doron and makes her share of love with him before she meets her tragic fate with a much doleful act of suicide. Shirin thought differently from her backward surroundings and was at a certain kind of unease with living in Palestinian territories. Similarly, Nassrin who is the wife of terrorist Abu Ahmad feels uncomfortable with the regular violence of her typical Palestinian street, for the safety of her children she decides to accept the Israeli offer to fly to Germany and secure a stable and peaceful future for her family sans Abu Ahmed and Co.
My favorite character remains that of Captain Ayub also known as Gabi played by the Israeli actor Itzik Cohen. Although he is Jewish and an Israeli but still manages to speak better Arabic than the rest of Mista’arvim folks. He has the mannerisms of a refined Arab man when he interrogates Arabs. He has a way of doing things that stands in contrast with the modus operandi employed by the likes of Doron who is hot-headed and takes seconds to lose his cool. Since Fauda comes from Arabic and translates to chaos in English, I can say that Doron remains the biggest source of Fauda throughout the series with his miscalculated actions.
The series gives one the space to think and keep asking oneself various questions on the nature of the conflict. The intrigue that builds up seems very tangible with every passing second and with every dead body that falls on the ground. No doubt, this thriller has also been my reservoir of Hebrew and Arabic learning and I relished every time I learned a new word or a new phrase in each language thanks to Fauda be it Sababa and Kol Tov in the language of Moses or Mufhoom and Ba’arif Kulee Shai in Arabic.
Whether you are a BDS supporter who likes to chant anti-Israel slogans at some rally in London or you are an active participant of some right-wing Jewish flag march characterized by chants such as “Death to Arabs”, I would recommend you to watch this series and think once again on your perspective around the conflict and come up with your review.