Netflix Buys Rights to Two New Israeli Shows

'Fauda' will air as is, with Hebrew and Arabic dialogue, as an 'original Neflix series' with a new opening.

A scene from the first season of the Israeli show "Fauda," which was purchased by Netflix in November, 2016.
A scene from the first season of the Israeli show "Fauda," which was purchased by Netflix in November, 2016. Haim Yafim/Yes

Netflix bought the rights to the Israeli political thriller “Fauda.” It will be available for streaming to all Netflix subscribers, in 130 countries, starting December 2. Co-creators Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, and representatives of the ADD company, will fly to Los Angeles early next month for the festive premiere. “Fauda,” with Hebrew and Arabic dialogue, will air as is, but as an “original Netflix series,” with a new Netflix-produced opening. In some countries, the show will have subtitles, while in others, such as in South America and Eastern Europe, it will be dubbed.

The news about “Fauda,” whose first season was broadcast by the Yes cable TV channel last year, comes one week after Netflix announced that it had purchased the rights to “Hamidrasha,” a series shown on Channel 2's Reshet franchise. Created by Uri Levron, Daniel Syrkin and Izhar Harlev, "Hamidrasha" is about a group of Israeli agents who are training to work for a Mossad-like espionage organization, and stars Yehuda Levi, Itay Tiran and Yehoram Gaon. It will also be available to Netflix subscribers in 130 countries, including the U.S. and Israel, under the title “Mossad 101”; it will be aired in Hebrew, with subtitles.

A few weeks ago, Turner Broadcasting also purchased the rights to “Hamidrasha” for dozens of channels which broadcast in countries including South America, Poland and Russia.

Netflix also recently acquired the rights to distribute two Israeli documentaries, Ido Haar’s “Presenting Princess Shaw” and Jake Witzenfeld’s “Oriented.”

“Fauda” (which means "chaos" in Arabic) was a major commercial success for Yes. It portrays a group of mist’arvim – undercover soldiers – who work in the occupied territories, and was acclaimed for its unusually complex and humane portrayal of Arab characters, and realistic focus on life under the Palestinian Authority. The second season has been delayed due to disputes between the production companies, but is due to air in 2017.

“We’re so thrilled,” says Raz, about the Netflix purchase. “This is an achievement not only for me and for Avi Issacharoff, but for all the writers and the director and the cast. And especially for Yes, which took on this series that no other broadcaster believed in. Without them, none of this would have happened.”

Asked how one goes about marketing a show about a local conflict to an international audience, Raz says, “At this year’s Rome Film Festival they screened two television shows – ‘Fargo’ and ‘Fauda.’ You should have seen how excited the audience reaction was. People apparently loved the story and especially the aspect of people who are living with a dual identity. At the Biarritz Festival we won the prize for best screenplay, so it looks like this story really speaks to a lot of people who aren’t otherwise familiar with the situation here. It’s also very possible that the global focus on terrorism, and the balanced picture we’ve created, played in our favor.”