Israeli spy shows are conquering the world

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THERE are only about 9m Hebrew-speakers, yet Netflix, an online video service, now offers a dozen Hebrew-language shows to its subscribers. Most Hebrew-speakers will have already seen them on Israeli television, but Netflix is betting that, subtitled, they will attract viewers around the world. Like other television companies, it is excited about drama from Israel. As well as investing in television series, it is behind a new Israeli film, “The Angel”, based on the life of an Egyptian spy run by Mossad. Most of the Israeli shows on offer deal with terrorism, espionage or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is irony here. While Israeli politicians grumble that their country is unfairly portrayed by the media, its television producers are cashing in on Israel’s reputation for spymastery.

The best-known Israeli series to date is “Prisoners of War”, which lasted only two seasons on Israeli screens, but was remade as the…

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