'Our Boys' powerfully puts faces on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Article Image

Israeli and Palestinian directors Joseph Cedar and Tawfik Abu-Wael discuss the making of their new HBO series "Our Boys".

Posted: Aug 12, 2019 6:10 PM
Updated: Aug 12, 2019 6:10 PM

The language and pacing in "Our Boys" reflect its Israeli roots, but the emotional core of this powerful fact-based miniseries hinges on tribalism, the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the adage that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. In that, this HBO presentation offers a sobering window into that part of the world, with implications that swell far beyond it.

The series recreates a period in 2014, when the murder of three Israeli youths prompted the abduction and brutal execution of a Palestinian teenager. The investigation of that case plunges deeply into the politics of the situation, with Israeli officials concerned about the protests erupting across the country.

"From a PR standpoint, it's a disaster," one grumbles, after early assurances in response to the teen's abduction that "Jews don't do something like this," which becomes a desperate hope given the fear of mass unrest, and concerns about media coverage that's tossing kindling on the fire.

Shot in Israel in conjunction with Keshet Studios, "Our Boys" unfolds (slowly, it should be noted, and with subtitles) from multiple perspectives, including the frantic parents (Jony Arbid, Ruba Blal Asfou) of the boy; and Simon (Shlomi Elkabetz), the world-weary investigator with Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency, tasked with solving the crime, even if his bosses don't relish the answers.

The government, in fact, is depicted as pressuring the investigators, while Simon goes about the meticulous task of building his case, which includes insinuating himself into the lives of his prime suspects.

The protests, meanwhile, take on a life of their own, as the families see their slain children turned into symbols and rallying cries, in a way they can't control, while authorities fret about those passions boiling over.

Premium networks and streaming services have become more aggressive about acquiring, partnering to produce and showcasing international product, largely to fill the demand for content. The results have been mixed, but the benefits of that have included some terrific dramas, such as HBO's Italian-language series "My Brilliant Friend" and now this. (The producers include Hagai Levi, best known to U.S. viewers for "In Treatment" and "The Affair.")

As specific as "Our Boys" is to the politics in Israel and these particular events, its prevailing themes about devastated families being caught up in historic grievances and governments at a loss regarding how to address them, sadly, crosses many borders.

In that respect, this 10-episode HBO series puts faces on a conflict often seen -- especially in the U.S. -- from a distant aerial view, bringing the loss, pain and senseless circle of violence achingly home.

"Our Boys" premieres Aug. 12 at 9 p.m. on HBO. CNN and HBO share parent company WarnerMedia.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 86°
Columbus
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 84°
Oxford
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Starkville
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 83°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather