The Israeli political thriller television series that has become a Netflix hit offers more than just entertainment. Fauda is probably one of the best ways to understand the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The fact that millions of people are getting educated by the exciting story shared on their television screen is a blessing for Israel’s PR. It’s a blessing because two important messages are delivered in the best possible way:
- The situation in Israel is complicated
- Israel is the ‘good guy’ in this ongoing war
The bottom line of Fauda reminds me of WW2 hero General Patton’s quote: ‘The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his’. There is one major difference between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists – Israelis are motivated by the desire to live. Palestinians are motivated by the desire to die.
It is well known that Fauda’s director and main actor, Lior Raz, served in the elite Israeli undercover unit ‘Duvdevan’. He also speaks publicly about suffering from PTSD due to the intense combat situations that he experienced. However, taking a deeper look at some of the other actors can teach us much about the social and political situation in Israel. Laëtitia Eïdo, who plays Dr. Shirin, reveals an amazing family story. Laëtitia was born to a French father (Christian) and Lebanese mother (Muslim). Her Lebanese grandfather, murdered by Christians on the morning of the massacare of Sabra and Shatila, allegedly had Jewish origins. Shadi Mar’I who plays Walid, the Hammas terrorist, describes himself as Arab-Israeli – Muslim. Born in Eastern Jerusalem and raised in a small Arab village near Nazareth, is a celebrity in Tel Aviv (and more recently in NYC). Itzik Cohen, or Captin Ayub, the Shin Bet chief operator in Fauda, was the founder of one of the first mainstream drag shows in Israel and is openly gay.
These real-life Israelis are living proof that Israel is a vibrant democracy where all human beings can live freely and be successful.
Try to imagine what would happen to Jewish Israelis living under Palestinian sovereignty. Would Jews be starring on Palestinian TV? Would inter-married couples be allowed to live peacefully? Would there be any drag shows, or any rights at all, for the LGBTQ population?
Fauda offers a unique and authentic glimpse into the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. As an Israeli who served in an IDF elite combat unit, I can say the core story is close to reality (albeit ‘Hollywood style’). Most importantly, the message is loud and clear – Israel is the ‘good guy’ in this conflict. That is clear and simple.
Hypocritically, leftist ‘peace activists’ call for a boycott of Fauda. Their main accusation is that although it stars Palestinian actors and deals with difficult moral questions on both sides, Fauda fails to represent the Palestinian narrative. This is, of course, ridiculous. TV shows are not documentaries (though too many documentaries – clearly biased – should be TV shows).
Fauda’s directors are Jewish Israelis who have a message to convey. Moreover, their portrayal of Israel’s challenges hits the mark and is very effective. At any rate, Fauda tries to represent the complexity and multiple sides to the conflict.
While Israelis know how to be self-critical, in this instance it is time for Israel to speak up loud and clear: We are the good guys! Israelis are at the forefront of radical Islam terror and they pay a heavy price.
To conclude, here is a famous quote from Golda Meir: ‘When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.’
Fauda’s second season becomes available on Netflix with English subtitles on May 24.