'Fauda' Ads in Arabic Spook Israelis, Spark Calls for Billboards to Be Removed

Ad campaign for new season of TV drama included signs in Arabic only without Hebrew translations, and two mayors want them taken down

A campaign promoting the new season of the hit Israeli television series Fauda has spooked some in the country and has even sparked demands that the Arabic-only billboards be taken down.

The mayor of the southern city of Kiryat Gat has ordered the removal of certain billboards advertising the second season of Fauda, a drama set in the West Bank about an Israeli undercover unit and the terrorists they hunt.

The ads in question feature slogans in Arabic such as Prepare yourselves, The chaos is about to begin and On its way to you. The text is in white on a black background with no translation into Hebrew, or any other language.

'Fauda' ads in Arabic spook Israelis, spark calls for billboards to be removed
Edan Ring

Dozens of people complained to the police about the billboards, saying they did not understand what they meant.

In light of the requests of many residents, I have ordered to remove the signs on Sunday, said the statement from the mayor, Aviram Dahari.

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

The billboards were put up all over the country. Shlomi Zino, a city council member from the town of Nesher, just outside of Haifa, tweeted on Thursday that he would not let anyone make political or commercial profit at the expense of the public in the city. He said the signs would be taken down that day, but they were still in place as of Saturday.

Now that people know what the ad campaign is about, the hysteria over the billboards has died down – but not before achieving the attention that its promoters had certainly hoped for.

The series is about a special Israel Defense Forces unit that is relentlessly and courageously hunting an arch-terrorist who is planning a mega-attack on Israeli civilians, but it is also a complex look at both the soldiers, who have internalized Palestinian culture, and human portrayals of the terrorists and their families.

The first season of Fauda, which means chaos in Arabic, was very popular in Israel and brought the show into a large number of Israeli homes. The political thriller was a great success when it aired in Israel in 2015. It has since been picked up by Netflix.