The A-Z of Israel
On 22 January, Israelis will go to the polls. The world watches – but how much do we really know about the country that calls itself “the sole bastion of democracy” in the Middle East?
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
H is for Hatufim
Homeland, the hugely successful American TV drama about a US marine “turned” by his Islamist captors in Iraq, was in fact a remake of an Israeli series. Hatufim (literally “the abducted ones”; it was broadcast in the UK in 2012 under the title Prisoners of War) was first screened in Israel in 2009, while Gilad Shalit, the Israel Defence Forces reservist captured by Hamas fighters near the border with Gaza, was still in captivity. The pilot episode of Hatufim, in which two Israeli prisoners of war, Uri and Nimrod, return home after 17 years in captivity, anticipated Shalit’s release in October 2011 in exchange for more than a thousand Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners.
That context, plus the presence of 1,500 former prisoners of war living in Israel, explains the extraordinary reception for the series: it became the country’s highest-rating television drama. Hatufim didn’t spare its audience, either. The show’s creator, writer and director, Gideon Raff, used the oppor - tunity to explore in often visceral detail the physical and psychological effects of the torture to which captured Israeli soldiers are often subjected.
Hatufim is not the only Israeli television series to have been repurposed for the American market – the psychiatric drama BeTipul was remade by HBO as In Treatment, and the makers of Mad Men have acquired the rights to Yellow Peppers, a popular show about a family with an autistic son.
A second series of Hatufim aired in Israel in autumn 2012.