Fauda creator Lior Raz at Theatre St. Denis

Fauda creator Lior Raz at Theatre St. Denis

Federation CJA hit a home run by bringing in the Netflix blockbuster Israeli hit series, Fauda. Lior Raz spoke to a packed house at the Theatre St. Denis Monday night after selling out the first two venues within hours of going on sale.

Raz spoke about his humble childhood as the son of Iraqi immigrants who worked alongside Arab neighbours. He learned to speak impeccable Arabic and seamlessly switched back and forth among his two languages and cultures. Eventually he became a valuable IDF commando given his “dual” persona. He spoke glowingly of his military family, about infiltration to the other side in the protection of the State of Israel and the Jewish People, about the loss of his “brothers” in war and of his girlfriend to terrorism.

Once out of the service, he became an actor and was interested in developing a TV series depicting both sides in the ongoing conflict. As the idea of Fauda, Arabic for ‘chaos”, developed he was concerned that there would be no following.

“I thought only my parents would watch it,” the entertaining, humorous story-teller, Raz, told the audience. In its first season, Fauda would go on to capture an audience of more than 60% of the Israeli population, the number one show in the country. Netflix picked it up and suddenly the show was broadcast around the world to more than 200 countries.

Raz proudly accepted many standing ovations as he told many behind the scenes stories in the development and shooting of Fauda. People thought I was crazy in bringing together Palestinians and Israeli Jews in creating this series, he told the audience. Fauda is shot in Israeli towns with actors from both communities collaborating.

Raz was most proud in demonstrating the high level of morals and humanity of Israel in its existential efforts at safeguarding its citizens. In so doing he has brought this message of the Jewish State’s longing for peace to the entire world.

The first season of Fauda is available on Netflix. It is in Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles. Dubbed versions in multiple languages are also options but to get the real feel of the high-stress, action-packed series watch in the native languages with subtitles. Season 2 filming begins this summer and will hit the air in November.

Lior made his mark on Montreal’s Jewish community, and beyond, and his local fan base is immense. Judging from comments on the way out of the theatre, and since, his personal appearance and lengthy standing ovations solidified impressions that he is an international entertainment sensation to follow. I wish Lior much luck and continued success.

The event was part of Federation CJA‘s centennial celebration.



Read more on Mike Cohen’s blog

Listen to Lior Raz interviewed on CBC As It Happens