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On the Spectrum.(Photo by: VERED ADIR/YES)
'On the Spectrum' big winner at Israeli Television Academy Awards
By AMY SPIRO
03/12/2019
Occasional political moments and plenty of Eurovision cheer marked the annual ceremony.
On the Spectrum, a Yes show about young adults with autism, was the biggest winner of Sunday night’s Israeli Television Academy Awards.

The Yes show, created by Dana Idisis, took home an impressive nine prizes, including best drama series. The series – which won the top prize at the SeriesMania festival in France last year – also took home the best actress award for Neomi Levov, best director for Yuval Shafferman, best screenplay for Idisis, and awards for cinematography, casting, artistic direction, editing and post-production.

Best actor in a drama went to Yehuda Levi for his show Very Important Person; true to form, Levi was in Los Angeles and did not pick up the award himself.

The annual star-studded ceremony was hosted in Or Yehuda on Sunday evening by future Eurovision co-host Lucy Ayoub and comedian and TV host Michael Hanegbi.

Hanegbi began the evening by referencing the “great Israeli pride” in seeing so many shows reach global audiences via Netflix, including When Heroes Fly, Shtisel and more.

Though When Heroes Fly was one of the most buzzed about shows over the past year, it disappointed at the prizes, taking home just two prizes – in special effects and sound recording – despite its 13 nominations.

With less than a month until Israel’s national election – and on the day the prime minister picked a fight with an Israeli actress – occasional political moments jumped out. Several winners gave a shoutout to the actress, Rotem Sela, who on Saturday night criticized political parties, and Likud specifically, for the way they speak about the Arab political parties. Sela’s Instagram post garnered a response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, who told Sela that while Arab citizens have full rights, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people alone.

Amir Ben-David, who collected a prize for the winning KAN interview show Pgisha (Meeting), invited Sela “to be our first guest on the show’s next season.” Liran Atzmor, a director and producer who won for the documentary series The Diaries of Kirshenbaum, used the stage to call for Israel to exit the “occupied territories.”

Eretz Nehederet, the Keshet sketch comedy series, won for best satire show, and Roy Bar-Natan, one of the actors, thanked “the politicians who make our work easy, but our lives less so.”

Mosh Danon, the chairman of the Israel Academy of Film and Television, took to the stage to praise Israeli television’s innovation and creativity, “despite the difficulties and the financial challenges that we all experience.” Danon praised the merger last year of Reshet and Channel 10, and also the success of the new public broadcaster KAN, “despite the attempts and political intervention.”

The ceremony, which aired on KAN 11, also contained plenty of references to the upcoming Eurovision, which will be produced by and aired on KAN.

Ayoub, the co-host of both events, slipped into effortless French at times, the ceremony included the launch of this year’s Eurovision song and the opening video of the evening was set to Netta Barzilai’s new song, “Bassa Sababa.” The musical interval featured a mash-up musical number dedicated to Israel’s best Eurovision songs over the years.

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