- Title: Emotions stir in Jerusalem as HBO's "Our Boys" hits local airwaves
- Date: 20th August 2019
- Summary: JERUSALEM (AUGUST 18, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOTHER OF MOHAMMED ABU KHDEIR, SUHA ABU KHDEIR, SAYING: "All the words that I will use will not express my feelings, it's like flame burns inside me, especially when I saw that the actor looks like Mohammed. I felt Mohammed is in front of me. I wished I could reach into the screen and grab hold of my son. It's really hard."
- Embargoed: 3rd September 2019 12:51
- Keywords: Israel Mohammed Abu Khdeir Jerusalem Shufat TV series Our boys Keshet
- Location: JERUSALEM / UNKNOWN LOCATION / MA'ALE ADUMIM AND TALMON SETTLEMENT, WEST BANK / TEL AVIV, ELAD AND NOF AYALON, ISRAEL / NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: JERUSALEM / UNKNOWN LOCATION / MA'ALE ADUMIM AND TALMON SETTLEMENT, WEST BANK / TEL AVIV, ELAD AND NOF AYALON, ISRAEL / NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA004AT0W0UT
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A new HBO series on the killing of a Palestinian youth after three Israeli teens were murdered in a deadly summer five years ago is stirring up painful memories for bereaved families on both sides of the conflict.
"Our Boys", which premiered in Israel and the United States last week, centres on Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian who was abducted near his East Jerusalem home and burned to death by three Israelis, two of them also teenagers, in July 2014.
"I wish I could reach into the screen and grab hold of my son," Abu Khdeir's mother, Suha, told Reuters, her voice breaking, soon after watching the first two episodes of the series, a co-production of HBO and Israel's Keshet International and produced by Movie Plus.
"The show brought me right back to the pain, to the day he was kidnapped," she said.
Prosecutors said Abu Khdeir's convicted killers were avenging the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens - Naftali Frankel, Gilad Sha'er and Eyal Yifrach - in the occupied West Bank two weeks earlier by members of the Islamist group Hamas.
The deaths of the four youths spiraled into a seven-week war between Israel and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
HBO's 10-episode dramatisation dissects Israel's internal investigation into the three ultra-Orthodox Jews eventually convicted of Abu Khdeir's murder and the frantic initial days after his parents learned of his disappearance and death.
The Hebrew- and Arabic-language series was written, directed and produced by two Jewish Israelis and an Arab Israeli, who mix documentary footage with live production to delve into the micro details they say drive the conflict.
"We live in an extremely nuanced world where wars erupt because of tiny things," co-director Joseph Cedar, 50, said in an interview alongside collaborators Hagai Levi and Tawfik Abu Wael.
But some bereaved Israeli families have said the show largely glosses over the murder of the three Israeli teens, who are referenced throughout the series but not included as characters.
Two Hamas suspects in the murders were killed in a 2014 shootout and in 2015 an Israeli court sentenced a third Hamas member to three life terms for the teens' abduction and murder.
"The balance is not clear to someone viewing the show, who thinks: 'We murder them, they murder us'," said Merav Hajaj, whose daughter, an army officer, was killed along with three other cadets in a Palestinian truck ramming attack in Jerusalem in 2017.
Hajaj, 49, wrote a letter signed by some 120 bereaved Israeli families criticising HBO and requesting the programme list the number of Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks through the years.
Levi said the creators felt they had portrayed the context of Abu Khdeir's killing.
"But this crime is the story," he said.
(Production: Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh / Roleen Tafakji / Dedi Hayoun)
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