Arab Labor

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Arab Labor
Also known asAvoda Aravit
Written bySayed Kashua
Directed byRonnie Ninio (season 1)
Shai Kapon (season 2-4)
StarringNorman Issa, Clara Khoury, Salim Dau, Salwa Nakra, Fatma Yihye, Mariano Idelman, Mira Awad
Opening themeDAM
Country of originIsrael
Original languagesArabic
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes43 (+ Independence Day special)
Executive producerDaniel Paran
ProducerYoni Paran
Production locationIsrael
EditorUdi Lion
Running time48 minutes
Original networkChannel 2 (Keshet)
Original release2007 (2007) –
2013 (2013)
Norman Issa portrays the main character Amjad

Arab Labor (Hebrew: עבודה ערבית, Avoda Aravit; Arabic: شغل عَرَب, Shughl Arab) is an Israeli sitcom television series, created by Sayed Kashua.


The series premiered on Keshet Channel 2 in Israel in 2007. The second season was broadcast in 2008 and the third season in 2012.[1] The series, whose title in colloquial Hebrew carries the implication of "shoddy or second-rate work",[2] focuses on the family and work situations of Amjad, an Arab-Israeli journalist. Much of the comedy is derived from the paradox of Amjad's love-hate relationship with his Arab identity and his simultaneous wish to integrate comfortably into Israeli society.[3]

Poking fun at the cultural divide, Kashua's characters play on religious, cultural and political differences to depict the mixed society prevalent in Israel.[2]

In the United States, the program aired nationally on Link TV. It also appeared on KCET in Los Angeles in 2014.

The show has won two consecutive Awards of the Israeli Television Academy for Best Comedy Series.


  • Amjad (Norman Issa) – An Arab-Israeli journalist working in Jerusalem[4]
  • Meir (Mariano Idelman) – photojournalist, Amjad's Jewish-Israeli coworker at the magazine
  • Bushra (Clara Khoury) – Amjad's wife
  • Amal (Mira Awad) – An Arab-Israeli attorney to whom Meir is attracted
  • Ismael, Abu Amjad (Salim Dau) – Amjad's father
  • Umm Amjad (Salwa Nakra -Seasons 1-3), (Alham Araff - Season 4)) – Amjad's mother
  • Maya (Fatma Yihye) – Amjad and Bushra's daughter
  • Natan (Dov Navon) and Timna (Rona Lipaz-Michael) - Joined in Season 2, neighbors of Amjad and Bushra
  • Yoske (Aryeh Moskona) and Yocheved (Sandra Sade) - Seasons 2 and 3 only, neighbors of Amjad and Bushra
  • Ami Schuster (Menashe Noy) - Joined in Season 3, Amjad's agent


The Chicago Tribune described it as "... a groundbreaking TV show that finds humor in sharing a homeland." The New York Times commented, "Kashua has managed to barge through cultural barriers and bring an Arab point of view ... into the mainstream of Israeli entertainment."[2]


  • Mary McNamara (15 November 2008). "Finding humor and truth amid conflict". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  • Jonathan Curiel (13 November 2008). "Meet the Palestinian Seinfeld. Who knew?". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  • Ali Jaafar (1 February 2008). "Israeli sitcom about Arabs a hit". Variety. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  • Isabel Kershner (7 January 2008). "TV comedy depicts world of the Arab Israeli". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  • Anat Rosenberg (29 January 2008). "'Avoda Aravit' - breaking TV barriers". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 September 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arab Labor Third Season". Archived from the original on 20 May 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Isabel Kershner (7 January 2008). "Straddling Cultures, Irreverently, in Life and Art". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  3. ^ Playing Sayed Kashua: Actor Norman Issa feels like the third brother of Arabs and Jews
  4. ^ Ray Hanania (18 June 2009). "Arab Labor: Using humor in Israeli sitcom to change perceptions of Arab citizens". Arab Writers Group Syndicate. Archived from the original on 5 November 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2012.

External links[edit]