ISRAEL: Israeli docudrama unfolds the traumatic themes of violence and revenge that led to open war in the summer of 2014.

Hans Henrik Fafner
Hans Henrik Fafner
Fafner is a regular critic in Modern Times Review.
Published date: August 30, 2019

Our Boys

Hagai LeviJoseph CedarTawfik Abu-Wael

MoviePlus ProductionsKeshet Media Group

United States, Israel

A mutilated body is discovered in a forested area on the outskirts of Western Jerusalem. Identification is difficult because it has been burned alive, but it turns out to be Muhammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian boy from Shuafat in the Eastern parts of the city.

«Jews do not burn kids, I know the Israeli racism, but Jews do not do a thing like this,» says the police officer in charge of the investigation at the crime scene. The boy had been abducted from the deserted street outside his home early the same morning, and it would be natural to suspect radical Jewish settlers, but the police officer’s first reaction could be described as self-denial. Or, maybe it is deep and sincere disbelief. The question is left open.

The gruesome murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir was part of a chain of events that shattered Palestine and Israel during the summer of 2014. Eventually, it led to the so-called Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip that cost more than 2,000 Palestinian lives during July and August of that year. Now, Israeli director and screenwriter Joseph Cedar, with Hagai Levi and Tawfik Abu-Wael, have created a 10-episode miniseries, based on these events. It is a dramatization of the tragic development with lots of original footage, providing a unique and disturbing insight into the psychological processes that, once again, led the Israeli-Palestinian conflict astray.

Out of control

Cedar has chosen the abduction and murder of three young Israelis as the trigger. One dark evening they hitchhiked outside a West Bank settlement in the Hebron foothills and picked up by Palestinians connected to the Hamas. This led to a massive search operation as we follow the popular reaction. The abducted youngsters were students at a yeshiva, a religious academy, and in that world the obvious reaction is prayer. The case became high profile, and thousands of religious Israelis gathered for mass prayer for «our boys» – the title of the miniseries.

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