Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, creators of the hit espionage thriller Fauda, now in its fourth season, visited Goa in November last year. The show follows an undercover Israeli special forces unit operating in the West Bank. Fauda, meaning chaos, is immensely popular across the globe, something that has amazed both Raz, who also plays the central character Doron, and Issacharoff. Edited excerpts from an interview with Raz and Issacharoff:
This is the fourth season of ‘Fauda’. Why do you think the show has a global appeal?
Raz: There is a need, maybe even a hunger, for good content all over the world and it doesn’t necessarily need to be in American English or British English. It can be in Hebrew, it can be in Hindi, it can be in many different languages. I think with Fauda, we managed to touch the hearts of many people all over the world, including in India.
I think it is gritty and raw. It’s a very good story and it makes you think about the other side in a different way. We have tried to bring more depth to the characters, to understand their narrative, why they’re doing what they do. I don’t know why it became a global hit. At first I thought it was a bad idea to put it out there in the world, because who was going to watch an Arabic and Hebrew show? But apparently I was wrong. I think it’s all about a good story and rounded characters that you feel for.
Issacharoff: So many people all over the world are watching a show that focuses on a very local conflict. I’ve been an analyst, a journalist for over 20 years and I still find that many people don’t want to hear about this conflict when I write about it. But when it gets to a show, suddenly you see that there’s so much thirst, there’s so much interest, which is a wonder.
I think we created something authentic, that is coming from both of our experiences, the life that we had in so many different versions. These are real stories and we took those and adapted them with the passion that we both felt for them.
Where did the ‘Fauda’ journey begin for you both?
Raz: This show was written in blood, because Avi and I were in the special forces in the army. We’ve been there. We’ve done some things. Avi got shot, for example. We were in the field of war. So we know what it is like when you are there.
I think about 15 years after we were released from the army, we started to write. It took years to get this perspective. To understand what happened there. What happened to us there, and what we went through emotionally.
Now we can see the other side, because when you are in the army, you cannot see the other side. We just had to do it. We just had to write. It’s our story.
You’ve been away from the army for a while now. So does it continue to be your story in season four?
Issacharoff: That’s a good question. Once, when I was in Los Angeles, I said to my agent that we stole some ideas from reality. They stopped me and said, you mean you were inspired. So yes, we were inspired by true stories, the plot of season four is not real, but so many we were inspired by true stories that happened all over the world, not only in the Middle East. When you watch it, it will make you wonder, is this possible? Did it happen? Because it looks real.
Raz: Not just the stories. I think it’s the feeling of the people who are there and working there and fighting there and how tired they are from this. The PTSD that they are suffering from is a real thing that we know about, that we are all dealing with. So maybe the storyline is something that we invented, but the feeling and the emotional journeys are totally relatable.
‘Fauda’ has been on a journey of eight years. Is there a journey’s end and do you have plans for further seasons?
Raz: After every season we think that the show is ending now. But when we shoot it, I think the magic of the show also—and this is connected to your earlier question on the show’s appeal—is that we really love working on the show because all of us, the actors, the writers, the production crew, have become a really big family. We take care of each other.
At the end of the day, we want to have fun. This is our baby and we don’t want that baby to grow up. We want to keep it with us. So we actually believe that it will continue.
‘Fauda’ is streaming on Netflix.