Our Boys (miniseries)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Original language(s)||Hebrew and Arabic|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Original release||August 12 –|
October 7, 2019
Our Boys (Hebrew: הנערים, Arabic: فتیان) is an American-Israeli television miniseries created by Hagai Levi, Joseph Cedar, and Tawfik Abu-Wael. A co-production between HBO and Keshet Studios, this limited series is based on true events and focuses on re-telling the story of the kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
- Shlomi Elkabetz as Simon
- Jony Arbid as Hussein Abu Khdeir
- Adam Gabay as Avishay Elbaz
- Or Ben-Melech as Yosef Haim Ben-David
- Ruba Blal Asfour as Suha Abu Khdeir
- Eyal Shikartzi as Yinon Edri
- Lior Ashkenazi as State Attorney deputy Uri Korb
- Jacob Cohen as Rabbi Shalom Ben-David
- Ram Masarweh as Mohammed Abu Khdeir
- Shadi Mar'i as Eyad Abu Khdeir
The series begins with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers at the hands of Palestinian militant group Hamas. This then prompts a retaliation, which involves the kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir (Masarweh). Three Jews carry out the attack, an adult and his two young relatives. Aside from the grief of the victims' families, the series also follows the investigation of Khdeir's murder and the tension that emerges among Jewish and the Arab community after the incident.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||"Chapter 1: Out of the Depth, I Cry to You"||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael||August 12, 2019||0.124|
|2||"Chapter 2: I Love Toto"||Tawfik Abu-Wael & Joseph Cedar||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael & Noah Stollman||August 12, 2019||0.100|
|3||"Chapter 3: Two Packs of Red Next"||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael & Hagai Levi||August 19, 2019||0.140|
|4||"Chapter 4: The Dawn Martyr"||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael & Hagai Levi||Shuki Ben Naim & Hagai Levi & Tawfik Abu-Wael||August 26, 2019||0.204|
|5||"Chapter 5: Shabbat Shalom"||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael||Shuki Ben Naim & Joseph Cedar & Hagai Levi & Tawfik Abu-Wael||September 2, 2019||0.198|
|6||"Chapter 6: Acceptance of Silence"||Joseph Cedar & Hagai Levi & Tawfik Abu-Wael||Hagai Levi & Shuki Ben Naim & Tawfik Abu-Wael||September 9, 2019||0.153|
|7||"Chapter 7: Judging by its End"||Joseph Cedar||Yair Hizmi & Hagai Levi||September 16, 2019||0.099|
|8||"Chapter 8: Defendants 2 and 3"||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael & Hagai Levi||Hagai Levi & Yair Hizmi & Tawfik Abu-Wael||September 23, 2019||0.092|
|9||"Chapter 9: The Perfumer and the Tanner"||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael||Hagai Levi & Shuki Ben Naim & Tawfik Abu-Wael||September 30, 2019||0.154|
|10||"Chapter 10: A Shaft Into a Dark Tunnel"||Joseph Cedar & Tawfik Abu-Wael & Hagai Levi||Hagai Levi & Tawfik Abu-Wael||October 7, 2019||0.111|
In October 2016, it was reported that HBO was creating a series on the 2014 kidnapping of 3 Israeli teens with Keshet International. The series was filmed on location in Israel and directed by Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar and Palestinian writer and director Tawfik Abu Wael, who also co-created the series alongside showrunner Hagai Levi.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 92% approval rating with an average score of 7/10, based on 12 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Challenging and thoughtful, Our Boys explores a real-world tragedy with grace and compassion." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 79 out of 100 based on eight critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
120 bereaved Israeli families sent a letter to HBO protesting the series, claiming that the show largely glosses over the murder of the three Israeli teens, and that there is a systemic difference in the societal treatment and acceptance of terrorism between Israelis and Palestinians. They demanded that HBO clarify that Palestinian terrorism is much more prevalent than Jewish terrorism. HBO declined to comply with the request.
Awards and nominations
The series won 14 Israeli Academy Awards including Best Drama Series Award, Best Actor for Johnny Arbid, Best Actress for Ruba Blal Asfour, Best Photography for Yaron Scharf, plus Best Direction and Best Screenplay for Hagai Levi, Joseph Cedar and Tawfik Abu Wael. Our Boys has also received nominations in the Entertainment category of the 2020 Peabody Awards and in the Foreign language category of the 2020 Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) Vision Awards.
The critical issue that the series depicts sparked an emotional stir in the Palestinian Territories, and received extensive backlash from Israel. The story of a teenager, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was killed in 2014 brought back painful memories of the Palestinians and his family. Abu Khdeir's mother, Suha, said that the series brought her back to the day her son was kidnapped. "I wish I could reach into the screen and grab hold of my son," she said. On the other hand, critics argued that the series is skewing reality and denting Israel's image. Yair Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu's son, wrote on Twitter, "The series tells the whole world how the Israelis and Jews are cruel and bloodthirsty murderers, and how the Palestinians are badly done by and oppressed."
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the series "antisemitic" and called to boycott its co-producing Israeli channel 12. His criticism of the series was accompanied by other remarks towards the network after Netanyahu tried to stop its news department from airing leaked quotes from a legal investigation of his own suspected corruption, earlier the same day.
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- "Our Boys Reviews". Metacritic (CBS Interactive). Retrieved August 21, 2019.
- "Emotions stir in Jerusalem as HBO's 'Our Boys' hits local airwaves". Reuters. 20 August 2019.
- "HBO's 'Our Boys' sparks anger among bereaved Israeli families for downplaying Palestinian terror". WIN. 16 August 2019.
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- Amir, Gal (2019-08-30). "HBO's Our Boys Series - Anti Israel Propaganda or Harsh Reality". The Eastern Herald. Retrieved 2019-09-08.
- "Netanyahu calls for boycott of Israeli TV channel over 'anti-Semitic' series". The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2019.