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Bnei Aruba
Bnei Aruba
TV Series
The night before a high profile operation on the PM, the surgeon due to perform the procedure is surprised at her family home by four masked men. The gang quickly take control of her and her family and order her to kill the PM.
Series cast summary:
Jonah Lotan Jonah Lotan - Adam Rubin 22 episodes, 2013-2016
Tomer Capon Tomer Capon - Guy 22 episodes, 2013-2016
Nevo Kimchi Nevo Kimchi - Giyora Avni 22 episodes, 2013-2016
Shmil Ben Ari Shmil Ben Ari - P.M. Shmuel Netzer 22 episodes, 2013-2016
Yoav Levi Yoav Levi - Amsalem 15 episodes, 2013-2016
Yaakov Zada Daniel Yaakov Zada Daniel - Tzion 14 episodes, 2013-2016
Michal Kalman Michal Kalman - Sara 14 episodes, 2013-2016
Mickey Leon Mickey Leon - Alex 14 episodes, 2013-2016
Hilla Vidor Hilla Vidor - Ella 14 episodes, 2013-2016
Liat Stern Liat Stern - Neta 13 episodes, 2013-2016
Itay Tiran Itay Tiran - Ben 12 episodes, 2016
Soraya Torrens Soraya Torrens - Lidia Mendez 12 episodes, 2016
Reymonde Amsallem Reymonde Amsallem - Orna 12 episodes, 2016
Nathan Ravitz Nathan Ravitz - Aviv Peled 12 episodes, 2016
Eldad Prives Eldad Prives - Amir 12 episodes, 2016
Alona Tal Alona Tal - Zohar 12 episodes, 2016
Jonathan Uziel Jonathan Uziel - Boaz 12 episodes, 2016
Avishai Meridor Avishai Meridor - Yuval 12 episodes, 2016
Ayelet Zurer Ayelet Zurer - Dr. Yael Danon 10 episodes, 2013
Micha Celektar Micha Celektar - Eyal Danon 10 episodes, 2013
Dar Zuzovsky Dar Zuzovsky - Noa Danon 10 episodes, 2013
Yoav Rotman Yoav Rotman - Assaf Danon 10 episodes, 2013
Ido Bartal Ido Bartal - Yonatan 10 episodes, 2013

Bnei Aruba
Made in Israel!Filmed around and in Jerusalem.This excellent thriller/drama ,which is the foundation for the CBS aired HOSTAGES,will keep you glued to your chairs/sofa wherever you are. Each episode will end before you notice it even begun. Ayelet Zurer and Yair Lotan ,as well as the rest of the cast, are giving us a compelling performance . Although fiction ,yet one keeps thinking ...what if.... The story line is not just about "the task "given to Dr Danon.There are several other "issues" going on at the same time without them casting any shadow on the main story line.And remember one thing,the show does not end until the fat lady sings. With season 2 now reaching episode 8 the plot thickens.Do not miss season 2!
Abandoned Electrical
Abandoned Electrical
This is the first Israeli native TV serial I've watched and it left me surprised. The characters and acting backed by a very strong storyline was too good.These sort of TV shows are very rare and it's a must watch if you like action, suspense, drama with good storyline. Edge of the seat thriller !
As this ten part series opens we are introduced to the protagonists; Adam Rubin, a police officer; Dr. Yael Danon, a surgeon at a Jerusalem hospital; her husband Eyal and their teenage children Noa and Assaf. Yael has been scheduled to perform routine surgery on the Prime Minister; an operation certain people would rather he did not survive. To this end a group of four people, led by Rubin, take the Danon family hostage… if her family is to survive Yael must ensure the Prime Minister dies. She manages to force a postponement of the operation but that doesn't end her troubles; the hostage takers are prepared to wait and while they do the family will remain prisoners in their own home.

As time passes the family's secrets start to emerge; each member having certain details they would have preferred to keep secret. Confined with their captors they start to talk and to a degree become friendly with some of them. It isn't just the family that appears to be unravelling; as time passes the hostage takers argue amongst themselves and start to worry how things will go for them as what should have been a short operation drags on for days. Matters are further complicated by the arrival of Noa's boyfriend, an off duty soldier. All the time Yael must weigh up what to do if she is to save her family without killing the Prime Minister.

This Israeli drama series quickly gripped my attention and kept it right up to the end. While there are some clichés, most notably the fact that the family is somewhat more dysfunctional then they realise, it doesn't really matter though as it helps drive some of the events later on. I liked the fact that we don't learn the motives of the various hostage takers and their backers early on; indeed we don't learn why an apparently good man like Adam would be involved until the final episode. The setting inside the Danon's house helps create a claustrophobic atmosphere and as tensions rise viewer is kept at the edge of their seat wondering how things will work out. When the series does approach its conclusion expect lots of twists and turns as well as some genuine surprises and a degree of ambiguity… whether this is allowing the viewer to decide what happens next or setting things up for a second season only time will tell. The cast do a fine job, making their characters believable even when the events seem a little far-fetched; most notable of these is Ayelet Zurer, who plays Yael. Overall a gripping drama that is well worth watching if you are looking for something a little different.

These comments are based on watching the series in Hebrew with English subtitles.
/refers to Season 1/

The recent decade has seen me moving away from U.S. and partially British crime drama (mini)series and focusing on wider geographical area. Thus, when I was referred to an Israeli one, I was anxious to see what was on offer from a country where security, army and intelligence form a vast part of daily life.

It all started working from the first scene, and the thrill was maintained throughout the season. In spite of some clichés, predictable scenes and questionable "blunders" around the Prime Minister, this series is pleasant to follow: it is thrilling, fast-paced, with good cast (particularly Ayelet Zurer as Dr. Yael Danon and Yoav Rothman as Assaf Danon), and you get an overview of beautiful Jerusalem as well as living in a highly secured country due to lots of hostile people around and within (although no Arabs were visible to me this time).

The final episode had multiple sub-endings, promising a sequel, which I am eager to follow as well (although I heard that the cast is partially different). All in all, Bnei Aruba 1 was a pleasant familiarisation with Isreali series and listening to Hebrew in almost all conversations.
HOSTAGES is a ten-part Israeli thriller series, later remade for the American market. The plot sees a surgeon in Jerusalem scheduled to perform surgery on the Prime Minister when her family are taken hostage by masked men who demand that she kill the PM during the operation. It's a corker of a concept...for a film. As a series it works less well because it has to sustain this relatively simple idea for hours, which leads to increasingly absurd plot twists. Inevitably every member of the family and even of the hostage takers has a back-story which has to be unpacked but as time goes on it all becomes too obviously artificial a method of stretching the drama out. Getting all this drama in also means that the hostage-takers have to act in the most absurdly unprofessional fashion, wandering off and letting the hostages have access to electronic devices and unwatched rooms. The final revelation is also disappointingly petty; I'd hoped for more from a Middle Eastern thriller but instead it's the usual domestic heart-string-pulling nonsense. The actors are good enough and the setting is unusual but it's a television series which would have made a better film.
Risky Strong Dromedary
Risky Strong Dromedary
What a treat! I started watching without knowing what this was about. I just couldn't turn it off! This is a really terrific series. The performances are very good indeed. Don't miss this show.
With many television drama series, it's a major writing problem, keeping things interesting while preventing the overall plot from spiralling out of control. Israeili drama 'Hostages' doesn't really solve this problem: it relies on a network of hostage-takers so powerful that at first it seems as if everyone is in on the gang, but so useless their hostages keep escaping; a mysterious "undetectable" poison, members of the conspiracy with unlikely personal motives, and finally, a heroine who chooses, in the end, to decide to play God. Although it's gripping in places, I found the motivations forced; moreover, there's something about a drama like this, that you just know that no-one's going to get free in episode two. I've seen plenty of T.V. with worse production values; but as a story, this one doesn't make a lot of sense.
I feel guilty writing a bad review of an Israeli production as I have a strong connection with the country and wanted this to be good. Unfortunately it took me 14 Episodes to pull the pin on it in exasperation.

Season 1 consisting of 10 Episodes was OK. Just. Despite the far fetched premise it was buoyed by a couple of interesting characters namely the female lead which offset the labouring idea that was dragged out over the duration. The finale was completely inexplicable with the Surgeon announcing the patient dead on the operating table, in front of her colleagues, then somehow he mysteriously appears alive in the next series. The pesky head of security who always looked like he was sucking on a sour lemon was an absolute moron and don't get me started on the Soldier boyfriend. The plot holes and ridiculous scenarios were there but I was happy to let them slide in order to see where the next series would take me.

Well... Series 2. I could not believe the gaping plot holes and far fetched storyline. It made Israeli intelligence agencies look like bumbling idiots and the negotiator who had to explain every thing to advance the story was infuriating. The cool calm and collected Doogie Howser lookalike, Mr Fix it was so stiff and forced, I could not wait til his scenes finished. Plant a gun to make it look like suicide??? Really? Israeli Crime Scene analysis would not have worked that one out!! How about the report that shots were fired despite a silencer being used. Someone used a hair pin to get out of handcuffs... On and on. One annoying thing after another, you get the picture.

In fact the more I think about it, the less I want to write about this utter waste of time. 4 episodes in I gave up, hoping the wife would die already.

Do yourself a favour and give this crap a wide berth. If you want your faith restored in Israeli drama, try Mossad 101. That was excellent!