A Pew survey found that American Jews, pretty much like all Americans, have turned to TV for entertainment during this pandemic. It’s not surprising really, considering how many of us were under lock and key for some time.
The problem many of us are facing now is that there’s nothing good left to watch. Or at least it feels that way. Well have no fear, Israeli television is here to save the day.
Over the past decade, and especially in the last few years, Israeli television has truly come into its own. First it inspired knock-offs (imitations is the highest form of flattery, they say). Think “Homeland” (based on Israeli series “Hazufim”) or “In Treatment” (based on Israeli series “B’Tipul”). More recently, it’s been Israeli shows outright that are capturing viewers. Think “Fauda” or “Shtisel.”
Here are five more Israeli shows you may not have heard of, but should be added to your list. Three are available right now on streaming services, and two are coming soon to Apple TV+.
Show descriptions come via Brandon Schuster of Kveller.
“False Flag” (Hulu)
In this high-paced espionage and conspiracy thriller, five seemingly ordinary citizens find themselves wrapped up in the high-profile kidnapping of an Iranian government minister from his Moscow hotel room. The only catch is that they all claim that they weren’t even in Moscow and that they do not work for the Mossad.
Apple TV+ also recently bought the rights to produce an English-language adaptation called Suspicion, starring Uma Thurman. Filming for the new show started in March but was suspended during its first week of shooting due to the pandemic.
When the front-runner for the Nobel Prize in Economics is found dead in his bed, his four closest friends scramble to keep him “alive” in the increasingly hectic days leading up to the big announcement. This Weekend at Bernie’s meets Grace and Frankie series is based on the popular novel by Noa Yedlin and has been a huge hit in Israel, where it airs on Kan 11. The cast of this hilarious dark comedy is also comprised of Israeli acting royalty, including Sasson Gabai (The Band’s Visit) and Tikva Dayan (The Golden Girls).
In this gripping dystopian drama, we’re transported to a present-day alternate-reality where the Jewish state is divided by a heavily secured wall. One side is the secular “State of Israel,” with Tel Aviv as its capital. The other side is the ultra-Orthodox “Jewish Autonomy” based in Jerusalem.
Autonomies comes from Shtisel writers Yehonatan Indursky and Ori Elon. An English-language adaptation is also in the works and is being reformatted to use America’s own blue state-red state divide as a substitute for the original Israeli plot.