Children’s book? Contraband. DVDs? Banned. Lingerie? Don’t even think about it.In the “Jewish Autonomy in the Holy Land,” everyone and everything is carefully checked before being allowed to enter the haredi-controlled sovereignty.It isn’t real – at least not yet. But this dystopian take on a future State of Israel is the concept behind a new drama miniseries created by HOT that is already making waves.The show, Autonomies, was created by veteran filmmakers Ori Elon and Yehonatan Indursky. Elon, who is national-religious, and Indursky, who grew up ultra-Orthodox, were also behind the successful Yes drama Shtissel, which also centers on haredi life.A whole slew of television programming in recent years has featured haredim, but Autonomies is a serious departure nonetheless.
Other shows, Shtisel, Kipat Barzel and Shababnikim, to name a few, feature haredim dabbling with, and interested in, a connection with the outside world. Kippat Barzel focuses on those in the ultra-Orthodox community who choose – despite great pressure – to enlist in the IDF. In Shababnikim, the most lighthearted of the bunch, four yeshiva students start spending most of their time away from their holy books. Shtisel centers on a very traditional hassidic family in Jerusalem, but the protagonist, Akiva, is pulled into the art world and strays just a little bit from home.Autonomies, however, takes things to the opposite extreme. In clips of the show played at the Keshet INTV Conference last week, the State of Israel has been split, with a secular capital in Tel Aviv and an ultra-Orthodox capital in Jerusalem, and a wall between them. Anyone who wants to enter the Autonomy must present papers and submit to a full search before passing through the metal and concrete barrier. And when a child’s fate gets caught between the two worlds, things get messy. “We want to tell stories about people,” said Indursky at the conference. “What really interests us are the little moments, the longing that develops when walls spring up.”The six-part miniseries features some of Israel’s best-known actors, including Asi Cohen, Shuli Rand, Rotem Sela, Dov Navon and Tali Sharon. HOT said the show does not yet have a premiere date, but is slated to air sometime this year.
Autonomy trailer in Hebrew (HOT/Youtube)