August 4, 2020

All against ‘Our Boys’ in Israel | Television

Almost as a prelude to the controversy it has brought with it, HBO premiered in early August in Israel its Serie Our boys one week before one of the biggest scandals that national television has experienced: A police patrol placed an M-16 assault rifle in the home of an Arab family in East Jerusalem during the filming of a chapter of a program that shows the daily actions of the agents.

Days after, Our Boys, that this week has completed the issuance of its ten chapters, it received high praise from foreign critics. CNN, Time, The New Yorker Y The Wall Street Journal, among other news media, praised the virtues of production for the joy of the Jewish community in the United States. The series leads to fiction the investigation of the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager in July 2014, the day after the burial of three young Israelis kidnapped and killed three weeks earlier by Hamas militants. The escalation of tension after the double crime was one of the reasons that triggered the Israeli invasion of Gaza in July of that year and the subsequent war conflict.

But while fiction was applauded in the United States, things were lived differently in Israel and Palestine. Our boys It has faced calls for boycotts by the most right-wing government in the country's history, which does not tolerate any alternative vision of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In September, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the anti-Semitic series and asked for his boycott, considering his plot an offense to the Jewish state.

Such appeals are an increasingly common practice in Israel. Miri Regev, Minister of Culture, is known for rejecting any audiovisual production that questions the government line. He has censored contests that projected works on Palestinian exile after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and obstructed the Israeli film festival in Paris of 2017, which it opened with Foxtrot. Regev deplored the film by Samuel Maoz for "his self-flagellation and cooperation with the anti-Israeli narrative." Recently, he has rejected Incitement, by Yaron Zilberman, winner of the Ophir award (equivalent to Goya) for the best film, considering that he blames Netanyahu for having encouraged the hatred that could lead to the murder of Prime Minister Isaac Rabin in 1995 at the hands of a Jewish extremist.

An image of the series 'Our Boys'.

An image of the series 'Our Boys'.

The Ministry of Culture has sent clear messages to national artists to defend the country's reputation at all costs.

Our boys He arrived in Israel involved in the controversy of his government rejection and said goodbye without having also received the applause of the left as a whole, because for a sector the request for boycott of Netanyahu has driven the series and has normalized both reality of the occupation of Palestinian territories.

"Although it is a bit embarrassing, Netanyahu is the best thing that could happen to the series," Hagai Levi, one of the three co-creators of fiction, told the newspaper recently. Haaretz In line with another question, he acknowledged: “It is true; in reality there is occupation and in the series no ”.

Aspects such as how to narrate the confrontation between the Arabs residing in East Jerusalem and the Jewish colonists of that same part of the city and in the West Bank or placing their protagonist, an agent of the Shin Bet (internal intelligence service) that investigates the murder of the Palestinian minor, as the voice of justice, have been criticized by those sectors of the left with the argument that the passage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from reality to fiction translates into a neutral situation that does not address racism or the repression.

"In accordance with Our boys we have the most ethical intelligence services in the world, ”said Rachel Stroumsa, executive director of the Public Committee against Torture in Israel, in an opinion article published by Haaretz.

In the week in which the last episode of the series has been released in Israel, viewers have also been able to watch the documentary Real-time kidnapping, made by Keshet (the same chain that has co-produced Our Boys), which relates the kidnapping and murder of the three Jewish teenagers. It is practically a prequel to fiction that might seem like a nod to the Israeli right but that, in view of the advertising cuts in which the final episode of the series was announced, clearly responds to a strategy to raise audience ratings .

Our boys it is a portrait of the complex and multidimensional Israeli society in which not only the Jews collide with the Arabs, but also the left and the right, the Muslims and the Christians or the Jews themselves: ultra-religious against secular or Ashkenazi against Sephardic . Probably, awakening everyone's complacency would have been a miracle only worthy of the Holy Land.

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