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Netflix gets topical with Israeli political thriller 'Fauda'

Netflix is ramping up its selection of international content with Fauda, a popular political thriller from Israel that focuses on a deep-cover unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, reports Variety.

The first season of the show, which airs on the YES Israeli satellite network, will be available for streaming starting December 2. While season 2 is still in production, Netflix has reportedly already picked up rights for it as well. Interestingly, despite already airing in another country, Netflix will be dubbing the show a “Netflix Original Series,” making it the first Israeli series to receive the classification.

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The Mista’arvim is a commando unit of the Israeli army with soldiers who are trained to work undercover among Palestinians, learning their language, dress, and even mannerisms in order to fit in unnoticed. The unit has helped stop terrorist attacks and guide military operations.

Fauda, a name in Arabic that translates to “Chaos,” has been lauded for its fair portrayal of both sides, focusing equally on backstories of both the Jewish soldiers and Arab characters, and not drawing a line between innocence and guilt. Each 45-minute episode is also offered up with dialogue in both Arabic and Hebrew, and will be available on Netflix with English subtitles. And, as with any political drama, the series is filled with scenes depicting close combat, as well as plot twists and hostage negotiations, to keep viewers riveted.

At the Israeli Academy Awards in 2015 (the country’s version of the Emmys), Fauda won a total of six awards, including Best Drama Series, and has become the most-watched program in the history of YES. The show was created by journalist and Arab affairs specialist Avi Issacharoff and actor Lior Raz, and is based on their experience working for the military.

Other international series Netflix has picked up include Suburra from Italy, 3 percent from Brazil, Sacred Games from India, and a yet-to-be-named period piece from Spain.