Our Boys, the Keshet/HBO miniseries based on the true story of the killing of a Palestinian teen by Jewish extremists, won the lion’s share of the major prizes at the award ceremony of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television on Wednesday, winning 14 awards in all. These awards included Best Drama — Our Boys won out over the third season of Fauda, among other nominated shows — as well as Best Director for Joseph Cedar, Hagai Levi and Tawfik Abu Wael, Best Actor for Johnny Arbid, who played the father of the teen, and Best Actress for Ruba Blal Asfour, who played the mother.
Asfour, who plays the role of Shua Abu Khdeir, publicly refused to be nominated in a public letter to the Israeli Academy of Film and Television on her Facebook page on Wednesday.
She slammed the decision to give her the nomination on Independence Day, which she called “a sad day, a day of a historic injustice” and said her choice to accept the role was meant to “bring to the world, to the viewer, the image of the Palestinian suffering and pain.”She added that the series is produced by HBO, which is an international production company and not an Israeli one, and stressed she does not accept “roles that harm me and my people.”The series was the focus of controversy when it was released in Israel and around the world in the summer of 2019. Many criticized it for focusing on the murder of an Arab boy and not on the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens which led up to Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the most vocal critics of the series and urged audiences to boycott not only the show, but Keshet, the network that created it. Levi, who accepted the awards for Our Boys, thanked Netanyahu for the “great publicity” after the series won the award for Best Drama. The awards, which were broadcast live on Kan 11, took place in accordance with the coronavirus pandemic guidelines. Only hosts Yaron Brovinsky and Maya Alkulumbre were in the studio, joined by a handful of guests who appeared one at a time, among them Sasson Gabay. There was no audience and the most of the winners responded via video chat. In addition to the 14 awards for Our Boys, Keshet took home an additional eight awards for other programs, including Best Satire Show for its popular comedy program, Wonderful Country (Eretz Nehederet) and Best Investigative Report Series for Fact (Uvda). There were more than 50 awards given in various categories, including one for Kan 11’s much-talked about interview program, Excuse the Question, which won for Best Factual Series.