Contributor: Marna Owen
“Stay away from me. Death follows me wherever I go.”
Doron Kavillio utters these words to his ex-wife after horrific events propel him into deep depression. It’s hard to feel sorry for the guy, though, as he’s a key catalyst in his own tragedy.
Doron is a rebellious member of an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) unit and main character in Fouda (“chaos”), a three season Israeli television series available on Netflix. Doron is charismatic, violent, and full of machismo, but with a sensitive side and an ability to charm the ladies with wit and lies, ultimately to their detriment. Apparently, I can’t resist Doron either, because I seriously paused at the end of Season 2 and asked myself why I would want to continue watching the bloody, endless revenge between the IDF and Palestinian terrorist groups. Yet, here I am, three episodes into Season 3.
I don’t want to give Doron sole credit for sucking me in, though. I care about many of the characters in this show. The writing is strong although the plot is repetitive. (Palestinian terrorists are brilliant and evil. Will the IDF stop them before they can carry out an attack? And who will die in the process?) According to Wikipedia, Fauda was developed by Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff based on their experiences with the Israeli Defense Forces.
After doing some research, I can confirm that Fouda has had its share of controversy for its unbalanced portrayal of politics and events. The story lines and point of view are pro Israeli, although the IDF isn’t portrayed as being particularly interested in human rights when it comes to their prisoners and breaking up terrorist plans. But I give the show credit for immersing me in the conflict, the culture, the geography of cities and rural areas, the fanaticism and the politics of the various factions (even if biased). It’s got me thinking about the role of women and the strength and influence of families. The ceremonies, the dress, the languages, and even the food intrigue me. I’m paying more attention to news of the region and reading more about the history.
Fouda has also won numerous awards at the Israeli Academy Awards (no surprise there), and was voted best international show by The New York Times in 2017. If you watch Fouda with a critical eye, you may also find some redeeming qualities Warning: be prepared for graphic violence. I had to leave the room on several occasions during torture and assassination scenes.