Netflix offers plenty of fodder for those interested in Jewish-themed content while stuck at home.
By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News
As people across the world stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, it means they need ways to keep busy. What else comes in clutch other than Netflix and chilling after work hours at home?
Fortunately, there are plenty of choices for those who want to binge on Jewish and Israeli-themed shows. With quarantine mandates in several countries and in multiple American states expected to last for several weeks, now is the time to show support for your favorite Jewish films.
This brand-new mini-series is Netflix’s foray into the Yiddish language. It creates plenty of nostalgia for families who are of European descent, hearing the traditional Ashkenazi language with a modern-day spin. Based off Deborah Feldman’s 2012 book Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, it features many dramatic twists.
“Unorthodox” tells the story of an ultra-Orthodox woman, fleeing her shidduch (arranged marriage) even while pregnant. Esther Shapiro, played by Shira Haas, disappears from her Williamsburg, Brooklyn community. She heads to Berlin, where she pursues life as a classical musician. But will she be successful in her endeavor? The four-episode series was just released on March 26.
This is one of the most fantastic shows on Netflix. Sasha Baron Cohen, who is known for not-so-serious roles, plays the famed Israeli spy Eli Cohen.
The comedian shows his dramatic side in this six-part series. The series is directed by Gideon Raff, and it shows the immense pressure the spy had as he infiltrated the Syrian regime, eventually winning the trust of the most important people in the nation’s government.
The series shows his life as a spy and how it impacted his personal life, specifically the relationship with his wife Nadia, portrayed by actress Hadar Ratzon-Rotem. While the series shows the more thrilling aspects of life as a spy, it also includes the dramatic issues that ensue even prior to Cohen’s capture.
In the final episode, Raff shows Nadia’s effort, as well as that of the Israeli government, to save the spy prior to his death.
The Red Sea Diving Resort
Gideon Raff, prior to creating The Spy, brought audiences into the Mossad’s effort to rescue Ethiopian refugees from war-ridden Sudan.
The film (2 hrs 9 min.) tells the story of a the spy agency’s effort to save hundreds of Ethiopians in the late 1970s and early ’80s using a fake hotel as a cover. Starring Chris Evans of Captain America fame, Alessandro Nivola, and Haley Bennett, The Red Sea Diving Resort has become popular on Netflix.
No show has ever showcased the real-life issues between Israelis and Palestinians like Fauda. The third highly anticipated season of this drama is set to come out on April 16, featuring 12 action-packed episodes.
Lior Raz, Itzik Cohen, Neta Garty, Boaz Konforty and Doron Ben-David star in Fauda, which provides a true perspective of how the Israeli Defense Forces operates. The first two seasons go in-depth with how IDF undercover operatives work in Arab areas, often risking their lives in order to stop terrorist attacks.
The show does an exceptional job of showing Israel’s fight against Hamas terrorism and, at the same time, it includes the Arab perspective of why many refuse to accept the State of Israel.
The new season is likely to be the most action-packed yet, featuring a deeper look into the Gaza Strip. And Fauda – Arabic for “chaos” – will likely erupt in an unpredictable way. While the show is in Hebrew and Arabic, English subtitles are available, making it easy to follow for American audiences.
Inside The Mossad
Few documentaries go in-depth about the Mossad’s day-to-day operations. However, director Duki Dror finds out why the Mossad is one of the most intimidating international agencies.
Dror speaks to former spies, who open up about life in the agency. Unlike other attempts at finding out what life in the Mossad is like, this The four-part documentary shows how peace efforts, led by the Mossad, have both worked and failed over the decades.