Israeli spies, hackers, and villains are dominating our screens with shadowy thrillers from Fauda to Tehran, The Spy, and Mossad 101 but there are plenty more in production.
“There’s a joke that anyone with a laptop in a Tel Aviv cafe must be writing a TV series,” Israeli producer Maya Fischer said.
Here are the shows everyone is talking about:
Fauda (TV series, Netflix)
Fauda revolves around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and star Lior Raz, the series co-writer and actor, who plays a former Special Forces soldier forced to confront his violent past. The New York Times rated Fauda the best international show of 2017. Production on the fourth series is underway.
Tehran (TV series, Apple TV+, Netflix)
Niv Sultan stars as Tamar Rabinyan, a Mossad hacker smuggled into Iran to help blow up a nuclear site. Tamar is barely out of the airport before she’s spotted by a former army colleague and her mission must change. Haaretz newspaper describes Tehran as an “estrogen-charged” suspense story that has more in common with the US spy series Homeland (also available on Netflix) than Fauda. Production on series two is underway.
The Red Sea Diving Resort (Film, Netflix, Amazon Prime)
Ethiopian Jews caught in a civil war are rescued by Mossad operatives using a Sudan diving school as a cover. Chris Evans stars as a Mossad agent who helps smuggle thousands of refugees to Israel in this film based on a true story.
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The Spy (TV Series, Netflix)
Sacha Baron Cohen offers a masterful portrayal of Eli Cohen, the Mossad agent embedded in Syria before the 1967 Six-Day War. The actor describes The Spy as “a superhero story of sorts. He's a deputy accountant in a supermarket who ends up becoming arguably the most successful spy of the 20th century.”
Watch the trailer
When Heroes Fly (TV series, Netflix)
Israeli comrades from the Second Lebanon War are traumatized when they fly to Colombia. Their journey into the jungle takes a dark turn amid a secret war. Hurt Locker writer and producer Mark Boal is adapting When Heroes Fly for Apple.
Mossad 101 (TV series, Netflix)
Cadets train to be Mossad spies in this action drama set at a fictional compound, HaMidrasha, where they are surrounded by surveillance cameras. Mossad 101 has an eclectic cast that includes one of Israel’s best comedians, Hana Laszlo, and actor/singer Yehoram Gaon.
The Angel (Film, Netflix)
Egyptian billionaire Ashraf Marwan wades into a game of high-stakes espionage when he contacts Israel on the eve of a war. The Angel is based on the true story of Marwan, a Mossad spy who may have been an Egyptian double agent.
Prisoners of War (TV series, Amazon Prime, Hulu)
Prisoners of War, the basis for the US spy series Homeland (also available on Netflix), is a character-driven tale involving two Israelis brought back from captivity in Lebanon after 17 years.
False Flag (TV series, Hulu, Amazon Prime in some countries)
False Flag revolves around five strangers who discover from the media that they are suspected of kidnapping Iran’s defense minister. Apple is working on a remake starring Uma Thurman.
Hostages (TV series, Amazon Prime, Netflix)
Four men invade the home of a surgeon who is about to operate on Israel’s prime minister. The doctor’s family is held hostage. The kidnappers have one demand: ensure the prime minister dies. The US remake on Netflix stars Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott.
Munich (Film, Netflix, Amazon Prime)
Steven Spielberg’s Munich is the real-life story of Mossad’s Operation Wrath of God. The 2005 film starring Daniel Craig (above, right) involves the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the Israeli government’s retaliation.
7 Days in Entebbe (Film, Netflix, Amazon Prime)
7 Days in Entebbe is a thriller based on a true story. Israeli Defense Forces’ commandos undertook a daring rescue mission in 1976 when an Air France flight from Tel Aviv was hijacked.
Operation Finale (Film, Netflix, Amazon Prime)
Operation Finale follows the 1960 mission of Mossad agent Peter Malkin as he infiltrates Argentina and captures Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), the Nazi officer who masterminded the logistics that sent millions of Jews to their deaths.
Inside the Mossad (Documentary, Netflix)
Dozens of former agents from Israel's foreign intelligence agency Mossad reveal their top-secret operations in this 2017 documentary film.
The Spy Who Fell to Earth (Documentary, Netflix)
Was Egyptian billionaire Ashraf Marwan a Mossad spy or a double agent? In 2007, Marwan fell from the balcony of his fifth-floor flat in London but it is unclear whether he jumped or was pushed. If you liked The Angel (see above), you will enjoy the documentary The Spy Who Fell to Earth.