I have just finished watching the second series of “Fauda,” an Israeli TV series, that I can honestly say was the most gripping, realistic and violent series I have ever watched.   I don’t think this is because I am an Israeli either.  It tells the story of Palestinian terrorists and Israeli counter-terrorist agents in a dramatic version of reality tv.  As far as I can judge, it is devoid of political agenda, it shows all characters, both Arab and Israeli, Muslim and Jew, as real humans, and treats them, good and bad, equally.

Fauda” means a mob attack, as has happened many times when Israelis are discovered in Arab towns, they are attacked, beaten and sometimes killed by a mob.  As an example, in 2000 two Israeli soldiers took a wrong turn and ended up in Ramallah.  Even though the Palestinian police took them into custody, they were attacked by a mob, literally torn apart limb from limb and the perpetrators smeared their blood all over their hands and faces.  Some of them were later caught, tried and executed.

This series is based on the real experiences of its creators in the Duvdevan (cherry) undercover unit of the Israeli security forces.  All the members speak fluent Arabic and some have done so since birth.  The hero Doron’s father comes from Baghdad (as did some 200,000 Jews from Iraq) and speaks Arabic as his native language,  The portrayal of the Arabs is to my mind very realistic, their motivations and actions are believable and in context.  The mothers of the terrorists are shown to be proud women, who do not want their deaths, but once they are shahid (martyr) publicly support them.

A most striking aspect of this series is that there is no ideology or idealistic sentiment expressed by the Israeli agents.  They never say, “I am doing this for my country” or “I am a Zionist.”  They are simply doing their job – defending their families, their people and their homeland, all unspoken.  And it is clear that the origin of the violence comes from the Palestinians, from their Islamist terrorists, who often operate as “lone-wolves” out of pure hatred (often expressed) for the Jews (they never say for the Israelis).

The acting in this series is excellent and has won the series many awards.  The impact of the series is so great that sometimes I was unable to watch.  If you don’t like violence, don’t watch Fauda, if you do like a realistic portrayal of an enthralling human drama don’t miss it.