Sunday, November 17, 2013

From Israeli Reality to Homeland TV Series

Nurit Greenger

Tel Aviv university, in Ramat Aviv, Israel, is the only university in Israel that has a film and television faculty.  One of this faculty's graduate is Gideon "Gidi" Raff, the Jerusalem born Israeli film and television director, screenwriter and writer, best known for his popular, the highest rated award-winning 2010 Israeli television drama series Prisoners of War and its acclaimed US adaptation, Homeland. (

This week, in an event for alumni and friends that was organized by David Dorfman, western region Associate Director and Rosalie Lurie, the Senior Director of American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU)(, Western Region, at the Beverly Hills home of Sonya and Howard Waldow, with Gail Reiss, AFTAU president and CEO, in from NY to attend the event, the organization hosted Gideon. Pat Saperstein, deputy editor of Variety Magazine interviewed Gideon for a house full of curious audience.

"Israelis are obsessed about bringing back prisoners of war" Gideon explained his choice for the theme of the series, which he wrote for the Israel market. "It is a local show just like Homeland will become a local America show," he says. "There are 1,500 POW living in Israel today" and he met many of them in preparation for his TV show. Gideon claims that there is no happy ending to those returning from captivity. It normally follows a post traumatic stress disorder and if the prisoner is married, his marriage will end up in a divorce. "It is hard to come back and catch up on lost time," he claims.

So what do Gideon Raff, Prisoners of War and Homeland TV series have to do with the Tel Aviv University? The connecting link is this university film and television faculty, the only one of its kind among all Israeli universities. Since all universities seek continuous financial support and since AFTAU is Tel Aviv university US fund raising arm, hosting Gideon Raff, a graduate of this faculty, can only create a whole new interest for possible new supporters of Tel Aviv university.

In the state of Israel's 65 years of existence, Israeli institutes of higher learning have positioned themselves in most respectable places among the most prestigious and established world's institutes of higher learning.

Tel Aviv University (TAU) is Israel's largest and most comprehensive institution of higher learning, a home to over 30,000 students studying in nine faculties and over 125 schools and departments across the spectrum of sciences, humanities and the arts.

The university consistently ranked in the top 20 in the world in terms of scientific citations and among the top 100 universities internationally.
Gail Reiss closed the event offering an open invitation to come visit the Tel Aviv university campus in Israel.

The Israel film industry has been making noticeable strides on the international films and television stage. These days Israeli movie and TV themes, created by Israelis, are in great demand and most thought after. It is said that Israeli creativity in this arena by far surpasses Hollywood. Tel Aviv university takes pride in giving birth to many of these creators and creations. Watch it, as Homeland Series is only the beginning.

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