Carl0s Alberto Montaner
Fauda means “chaos” in Hebrew and Arabic. It is the name of a magnificent Netflix series. The best way to pass the time under this damn confinement caused by Covid-19, aka “the Old People Killer”, is to watch a television series. I have done it in this endless quarantine.
I loved it. I knew, in advance, the episodes’ background. Certain young Jews, linked to an Elite Covert Unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, were facing Palestinian youth linked to Hamas, Fatah in the West Bank, and some of them even swore allegiance to ISIS through the usual video.
The unit exists and is the “Doron Kabilio (cherry in Hebrew),” and is empowered to commit targeted killings and other despicable acts aimed at preventing terrorist attacks and crimes against the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people.
It was –at least I believed it– the Middle Eastern version of cowboys against Indians, of good versus evil, of the “good” against the “bad.” The cowboys, of course, were the Jews. The Palestinians, of course, were the Indians. But there was none of that. Stereotypes did not exist.
All were capable of destroying the adversary, interrogate him viciously, torturing him with one blow after another until they killed him. The Jews and the Palestinians were human beings driven by patriotism, adventure, desire for revenge, love, loneliness, lust, deception, and spite. Also, and in a huge proportion, they were moved by the desire for glory.
The religious issue separated them. The Palestinians took Allah very seriously. They prayed to him and offered him the sacrifice of their lives. The women among them had an auxiliary role and owed their husbands an awesome respect. The Jews, on the other hand, hardly mentioned Yahweh. They viewed their actions from a secular perspective. Women played the same roles as men. They could be unfaithful in bed while remaining loyal.
Is it a realistic series? Yes, but only in a certain way. Disbelief must be discarded, as is often the case in theater, and we must assume that the same secret war crew operates consistently without being detected in a small territory like Ramallah, which is a sort of city the size of a postage stamp.
But that stumbling block is easily overcome. Actually, the events occurred more or less like this, although in a different sequence. The main actor and co-writer of the series, Lior Raz, who plays the role of Doron Kabilio, belonged to an Israeli special unit that persecuted terrorists and carried out covert actions in the West Bank. The raw material for the scripts is his own experience.
His girlfriend back then, a 19-year-old girl named Iris Azulai, was stabbed to death by a Palestinian, who was arrested. Years later he was exchanged for the soldier Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas, in that amazing operation in which the Israelis exchanged more than a thousand prisoners, many of them terrorists, for the freedom of one of their own.
The other co-writer, Avi Issacharoff, is a Haaretz journalist and award-winning television reporter, a true expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although Issacharoff takes the Israeli point of view, he tries to be objective and respectful of the Palestinians.
That’s not possible. The point of view is essential, and the Palestinians are almost never satisfied. For them, revenge is a legitimate emotion. That is why Shirin al-Abed, splendidly played by the Franco-Arab actress Laëticia Eido, a Palestinian widow, in love with Doron Kabilio, although married in fear to her cousin Walid Abed, the local boss of Hamas, is an unforgivable traitor. It is a small world in black and white, absolutely irreconcilable with its adversaries.
It’s convenient to know it. There is no human way for Arabs and Israelis to reach reasonable agreements. As long as the Palestinians dream of throwing the Jews to the sea, that’s not possible.
Published by elblogdemontaner May 30, 2020
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