Produced by the creators of such internationally acclaimed hits as Fauda and Shtisel, the new Israeli television series The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem is set in the titular city during the 1920s and 30s. Michael Oren notes in his review that the show pays little attention to the dramatic events in Mandatory Palestine during this time, which included several waves of Arab violence and the increasing anti-Jewish turn of the British colonial rulers, who were closing the doors of immigration to the Land of Israel even as the Nazis were consolidating power.
[R]emarkably, appallingly, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem makes no reference . . . whatsoever . . . to the Arab revolts, [or] to rising anti-Semitism [and] Nazism. It has more to say about halvah than the impending Holocaust. And while British officials abound throughout the series, they are overwhelmingly positive figures, free of any prejudice toward either Zionism or Jews.
Accordingly, and unsurprisingly, the only villains in The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem are Jews. And not just any Jews, but the right-wing Revisionists of the Irgun and the Leḥi [who] are portrayed as bloodthirsty and treasonous.
Some of this might be attributed to the nostalgia harbored by some Israeli leftists for the years of British rule and what they believe were its secular and fair-minded officials. . . . Similar impulses may have led the scriptwriter to underplay the widespread Arab belligerence at the time, even toward the non-Zionist communities of Hebron and Safed.
“At its worst,” writes Oren, the series “corroborates” the claim that Israel was “born of militarism, racism, and colonialism.” The Arabs fare no better, coming across as “docile or decadent stereotypes.” And perhaps worse still, Oren finds the show “melodramatic, plodding, [and] predictable.”