In the 1920s and 30s, Sam Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, the Warner brothers, and other Jews who had settled in Los Angeles played a major role in creating Hollywood and the movie business as we know it today. Some 100 years later, it is the Jewish state that is doing much to redefine entertainment. It began when Israeli shows were adapted for American audiences, producing such series as Homeland. Now Israeli shows like Fauda are simply being streamed on thousands of small screens around the world with subtitles. The Israeli-American writer and producer Alon Aranya, who has been involved in many of these programs, discusses the appeal of Israeli television, as well as one of his latest projects, a spy thriller titled Tehran. (Interview by Shmuel Rosner. Audio, 40 minutes.)
How Israel Became a Global Television Powerhouse
The Haredi Moment Has Arrived
Watch Mosaic's Dramatic Reading of Isaac Babel’s “Red Cavalry”
How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists
On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:
[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.
Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.
The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.
Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.