HBO sets premiere date for show on events leading up to 2014 Gaza War

HBO's new show will tell the story of the events that led up to the 2014 Gaza War.

By
June 23, 2019 17:00
3 minute read.
A GIRL WALKS by the remains of a house in the northern Gaza Strip that was destroyed.

A GIRL WALKS by the remains of a house in the northern Gaza Strip that was destroyed during Operation Protective Edge.. (photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)

HBO just announced that it will release the premiere episode of a new series called Our Boys on August 12, which was created by Israelis Joseph Cedar, Hagai Levi and Tawfik Abu Wael.

The series will be a 10-episode drama on the events leading up to the 2014 Gaza War, focusing on the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) investigation into the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian boy, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was abducted by Jews in revenge for the murders of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank. It will not focus on the case of the three Jewish teens, as was previously reported, but on the vengeful torture and murder of Khdeir, whose body was discovered in the Jerusalem Forest.

Other cast members include Michael Aloni (Shtisel), Lior Ashkenazi (Foxtrot, Walk on Water), Shadi Mar’i (Fauda), Noa Koler (The Wedding Plan), Ruba Blal Asfor (Sand Storm) and Yoram Toledano (Echo).

Although several Israeli-created television dramas have been popular internationally, Our Boys represents a breakthrough on several fronts.

Firstly, it is the first HBO series to be filmed in Hebrew and Arabic.

Secondly, it marks the first collaboration between HBO – the pioneering premium-cable network that began the revolution in high-quality television with such series as The Sopranos and The Wire, and which has continued its dominance in this area with the recent megahit, Game of Thrones – and Keshet International – the US-based, global production and distribution arm of the Israeli company, Keshet Media Group.

Keshet has created many hit Israeli shows, such as Prisoners of War and Ramzor, which were adapted in the US as Homeland and Stoplight, respectively. Earlier this month, it was announced that Keshet’s hit Israeli series Yellow Peppers (which was redone as The A Word by the BBC) will be produced for television in the US by Keshet and Universal Television, and that The Beauty and the Baker will be remade by ABC.

In addition to this groundbreaking partnership between Keshet and HBO, Our Boys is notable as a collaboration between two of Israel’s highest profile television and film professionals, Cedar and Levi. Cedar has worked in feature films previously and his last movie was the 2016 English-language film Norman, starring Richard Gere as a charming New York fixer who befriends a rising Israeli politician (Lior Ashkenazi). Two of his earlier films, Beaufort (2007) and Footnote (2011), were nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Oscars. In Our Boys, Cedar will revisit themes similar to his first film, Time of Favor (also known as Ha-Hesder), a drama about a Jewish terrorist plot to bomb the Temple Mount, which starred Assi Dayan as the charismatic rabbi leading his students to turn to violence.

Levi was one of the creators of the Israeli show, BeTipul, an intimate look at a psychologist and his patients, which has been remade in dozens of countries around the world, notably as the Emmy-winning HBO series, In Treatment. However, In Treatment was simply a US remake of the Israeli series, and not a collaborative project from its inception, like Our Boys. Levi went on to create the popular Showtime series, The Affair.

Tawfik Abu Wael’s debut feature film, Thirst (Atash) – which won the award at the Jerusalem Film Festival for Best Israeli Feature in 2004 and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival – tells the story of an isolated Israeli-Arab family and its son’s struggles with his tyrannical father. It stars Shlomi Elkabetz as Simon, the lead Shin Bet investigator, who comes from a religious family. Elkabetz is best known as the director/writer of a trilogy of films – consisting of To Take a Wife, Shiva and Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem – which he made with his late sister, Ronit Elkabetz.

In addition to HBO, Our Boys will be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO on Demand and partners’ streaming platforms, according to a report in Deadline.

Our Boys is being produced by Levi, Cedar, Avi Nir (Keshet Media Group), Alon Shtruzman (Keshet International), Karni Ziv (Keshet Broadcasting), Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan (Keshet Studios), Noah Stollman and Michael Lombardo, and will be distributed internationally by Keshet International.


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