This is not a scene from „Fauda”, this is real life. Death for families, homes, values…

The production affirms valiance, courage and patriotism. And it swims against the tide of political correctness. When Hamas attacked Israel, friends from the film plan moved on to the tasks of the war.

Fiction has caught up with reality. Unfortunately. That’s how we can comment on the death of Matan Meir, a 38-year-old reservist in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). He was killed in a booby trap explosion in the Gaza Strip on November 11 this year.

It’s not a widely-recognised figure in Poland. But amongst Polish viewers there is a well-known project that Meir carried out. It’s about the famous spy series “Fauda” from 2015-2022 (it had four seasons). Meir was its executive producer.

“Fauda” (in Arabic the word means “chaos”) is the story of Mista’aravim agents, i.e. Israeli special forces officers who work undercover. They make themselves resemble the Arabs in order to keep them under surveillance.

SIGN UP TO OUR PAGE The axis of the plot of the series is defined by the war between the State of Israel and Arab terrorists. The latter include both lone wolves and fighters from organisations such as Hamas or the so-called Islamic State.

The concept of “Fauda” originated with the duo Lior Raz – Avi Issacharoff. The former is an actor, the latter – a journalist. He played Fauda’s main hero once. This is Doron Kavillio – a Mista’aravim unit commander. This character is defined by a great deal of bravado, but also, in extreme situations, by a willingness to go beyond the rules. Not surprisingly, Doron is often referred to in the media as the “Israeli Rambo”.

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Both Raz and Issacharoff are of Mizrahi Jewish descent. The historical home of this community is the Middle East and North Africa. The identity of Mizrahi Jews has therefore been shaped by their centuries-long coexistence with Arabs. And it was by no means hostile.

The fact that Raz and Issacharoff were raised in contact with Arabs meant that during their service in the IDF, they were assigned to a Mista’aravim unit. They used the experience gained during this service later when working on “Fauda”.

In turn, after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, both of them, as volunteers of the “Brothers in Arms” group, took part in the evacuation of Jewish civilians from places where their lives were in danger. It is worth noting that at this point Raz’s colleagues from the set of “Fauda”, i.e. other actors of this series, also became active. As reservists of the Israeli army, they moved on to the tasks of the war.

A short video featuring one of them, Idan Amedi, appeared on YouTube. The artist dressed in uniform said, among other things: “This is not a scene from , this is real life. We are here to protect our children, families, our home”.

These circumstances are important in the context of considerations on how the relations between Jews and Arabs are shown in “Fauda”.

The production undoubtedly has a patriotic, and one could even say nationalist (Zionist) message. In the series, the officers of the Israeli state are on the side of good, so the abuses they commit are justified. This is true even when they torture Arab terrorists and people suspected – rightly or wrongly – of helping them.

And yet “Fauda” is not just a simple plot in which good confronts evil. Individual characters are nuanced. Arabs appear to be a diverse ethnic group that defies unequivocal assessments. Among them, there are also those who simply arouse sympathy.

Doron Kavillio himself is a complex character. He’s a tough guy. But at the same time, he does not hide his tears when people close to him tragically die. When he is struck by a series of misfortunes, he has something of Job in him. It is in such moments that he appears as the biblical “broken reed”, as an admirable man of flesh and blood.
What is particularly striking about “Fauda” is the Maccabean spirit that permeates the series. The Maccabees – also known as the Hasmoneans – were a Judean priestly family. They rebelled against Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the ruler of the Seleucid dynasty. This happened in the 2nd century BC and was described in the Old Testament, specifically in the Books of Maccabees.

The Seleucids, on the other hand, were a Hellenistic dynasty whose empire stretched from the Mediterranean to India. Judea came under their rule. Antiochus tried to impose a culture on the Jews that was alien to them. The Jerusalem Temple was desecrated and the worship of pagan gods was ordered.

And then Mattathias Hasmoneus and his sons rebelled against the Hellenisers. They led an uprising which resulted in the return of the Temple to the followers of the Mosaic faith. Judah Maccabee, one of Mattathias’ sons, instituted the holiday of Hanukkah to commemorate this victory.

Of course, the Jews in “Fauda” are a different nation from the one we read about in the Books of Maccabees. In this context, one detail must be pointed out: although Judaism plays an important role in the State of Israel today, contemporary Israeli society is highly secularised. However, the Maccabees remain an important point of reference in the modern Jewish imaginary, not for religious reasons, but as Jewish patriots. This is one of the reasons why they are patrons of Jewish sports initiatives, such as the Maccabiads (Jewish Olympic Games) or the Israeli Maccabi clubs. In 1991, the Makabi club in Warsaw, which had operated there between 1915 and 1940, was reactivated.

If we are looking for similarities between modern times and the time of the Maccabees, it would be a mistake to think that today’s equivalent of the ancient Hellenisers are the Arabs. That’s not the point at all. For the State of Israel to survive physically, the Jews living there must also survive spiritually. They should therefore not allow the West to impose values that will disarm them as a community. These are: liberalism, cosmopolitanism, and woke culture. Those who are currently imposing these values on Israel are Antiochuses of the 21st century.

Therefore, we must once again praise “Fauda” for affirming: valiance, courage and patriotism. As well as for the fact that it swims against the tide of political correctness, which has become a permanent feature of mass culture.

– Filip Memches

TVP WEEKLY. Editorial team and jornalists

– Tranlsated by Dominik Szczęsny-Kostanecki
Main photo: A still from the series “Fauda”. Its heroes: second from the left Lior Raz – screenwriter and performer of the main role, that of Doron Kavillio; next to him – Idan Amedi as Saga and Ron-Lee Shimon as Nurit. Photo by courtesy of Netflix / press materials
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