Soapie flatters Jews, a big hit among Arabs

  • Madiba UJW
A dozen Palestinian Muslim men gather at an isolated farm house this week to indulge in a new delight, watching a soapie about Jews!
by ANT KATZ | Jul 22, 2015

'The Jewish Quarter'

The Washington Post website ran the story on “Egyptian show that’s flattering to Jews is a surprise hit among Palestinians” which SAJR couldn’t help including in our Whacky Jewish World section.  

Palestinian hit HOME“Hush, hush. It’s starting!” someone said. The group settled down, sipped fresh lemonade, nibbled sweets, sucked on water pipes and then cranked up the volume for the opening credits of “Haret al-Yahud,” or “The Jewish Quarter.”

RIGHT: Palestinians gather at a Bethlehem home to watch the Egyptian TV series “The Jewish Quarter.” (Quique Kierszenbaum/for The Washington Post)

The steamy Egyptian soap tells a Romeo and Juliet tale of a beautiful daughter of a well-to-do Jewish merchant and a dashing Muslim army commander falling in and out and in love again in old Cairo during the earth-shaking 1948 Arab-Israeli war and its aftermath.

The show’s vibe, reports the Washington Post, is a mash of “Casablanca” with a little “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Lawrence of Arabia”.

“I never in my life imagined that I would be seeing this,” said Mahmoud Dadoh, a chicken farmer who had become a fan told the Post.

Was he amazed to see Jews in Arab media? Not at all, he said.

Israelis and Jews, often presented as interchangeable, are a reliable staple on TV dramas produced in the Arab world. But they are usually cast as greedy, villainous, hook-nosed stereotypes — or as evil occupiers of Palestine.

Not this time.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Denis Solomons 22 Jul
    Would the program still have been so popular if the girl was Arab/ Muslim and the male Jewish ! ?


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