KCETLink Introduces Controversial Israeli Comedy ?ARAB LABOR? to Southern California Audiences
Hit International Series Debuts on KCET on May 6;
Season 1 Reboots on Link TV on May 11
KCETLink and the Levantine Cultural Center to Hold
Community Screening Event
for Arab Labor May 4 at 5 p.m. at Harmony Gold Preview
Calif. - April 24, 2014 - While race relations in the Middle East aren'ttypically a laughing matter,
award-winning Israeli sitcom, has engaged an enthusiastic global audience by
poking fun at the cultural and political differences in Israel?s mixed society.Today, KCETLink announced that the first season of
ARAB LABORwill debut exclusively on KCET in Southern California with two half-hour back-to-back episodes Tuesday nights beginning
May 6, 2014 at 9
Additionally, the series will reboot from season 1 on national satellitenetwork Link TV (via DirecTV 375 and DISH 9410) on Sunday,
May 11, 2014 at 8
p.m. ET/PT. ARAB LABOR, broadcast in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles,
debuted in the U.S. on Link TV in the fall of 2008.
by Sayed Kashua, an Israeli-born Palestinian journalist, ARAB LABOR (translated
from the Hebrew "Avoda Aravit," which colloquially implies
"shoddy or second-rate work") is a controversial hit Israeli comedy
series that focuses on Amjad Alian, a Palestinian journalist and Israeli
citizen in search of his identity, as he seeks high status in the society into
which he was born, but where his car is searched everyday when he drives to his
job in Jerusalem.
highlighting the collision of language, religion and custom, the milestone
series depicts Israeli society through the eyes of an amusing Muslim Arab
family and their constant desire to conform.
When it premiered in Israel in 2007, the
sitcom marked a milestone on Israeli television as the first program to present
Palestinian characters speaking Arabic in primetime.
are excited to introduce this unique and daring series to Southern California
audiences, who represent a cultural melting pot," said Lorraine Hess, VicePresident of Programming and Acquisitions for KCETLink, who first introduced
LABORto U.S. audiences on Link TV.
"We are confident this series can help enlighten viewers to some of the
nuances around the Arab/Israeli experience that perhaps aren't evident from
mainstream news reporting."
community screening of ARAB LABOR will take place on Sunday, May 4,
2014, at 5 p.m. at the Harmony Gold Preview
House at 7655 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. The screening, presented with the
Levantine Cultural Center, will be followed by a panel discussion with
community leaders, moderated by Jordan Elgrably, the Center's executive
director. Media can RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.ARAB LABOR stars
Amjad Alian (Norman
Issa),a Palestinian-Israeli journalist working in Jerusalem;
(Mariano Idelman),Amjad's Jewish-Israeli coworker at the newspaper;
(Clara Khoury),Amjad's wife, mother of Maya; and Amal (Mira Awad), a
Palestinian-Israeli attorney to whom Meir is attracted.
will stream online for two weeks following each broadcast at kcet.org/arablabor
Season One Episode
Amjad is stopped regularly on the road for a security
check by police and does not understand why, because he thinks he looks like
the average Israeli. Meir tells him that it is because the Subaru he drives is
considered an Arab car. Amjad decides to trade in his Subaru and gets into
trouble with the owners of the chop shop. All this is going on while Amjad the
journalist has to explain in the media why Arabs are involved in more traffic
Amjad moves from the news desk to the magazine. The
editor asks him for a colorful, sexy piece. Amjad is not sure and deliberates
until he hears from his father about a very special sheep who understands what
the soldiers say.
Amjad understands that it is time for his parents to stop
babysitting his daughter every day and for her to go to kindergarten and
broaden her horizons. At first, he tries an Islamic kindergarten with a good
reputation in the village. The little girl becomes religious, and Amjad decides
to look for a strictly kosher Jewish kindergarten for her. He tries several
options and encounters expected and unexpected difficulties.
Amjad and Meir are preparing an article about the Arab
Miss Israel. Meir, who remains in the village to take pictures, is kidnapped by
the taxi driver and his cronies. Amjad and his father set out on a rescue
mission to free Meir from his kidnappers.
It is the week of Passover. Meir meets with Amal, an
attorney and friend of Bushra. He invites her to the Passover Seder. Amjad is
also invited along with his wife and children to the home of a reform family
whose son goes to kindergarten with Maya. Amjad is enthusiastic about the Seder
ceremony and decides to adopt the concept of the Haggadah into Eid al-Adha
(Festival of Sacrifice).
Amjad is called into the police and asked to help supply
information to the security forces. He gets very scared and tries to find a way
out. His mother-in-law, who just moved in with them while her apartment is
being remodeled and, as always, manages to annoy Amjad, will be his way of
giving the GSS (General Security Services) what it wants.
Amjad interviews the leader of a new political party that
advocates a repartitioning of Israel between Jews and Arabs. Amjad, who is not
at all sure of which side he wants to be on in this new partitioning, goes to a
psychologist to find resolution. Now the story starts getting really entangled.
"Crime on the Border"
Bushra honks at a BMW that is blocking them, and Amjad is
afraid that he is about to get into it with one of the village criminals. He
goes up to them to apologize for his wife's honking and gets into even more
trouble. In the mean time, Meir is beside himself with jealousy because of a
Palestinian student who is courting Amal.
"Meeting the Parents"
Amal wants to meet Meir's parents. Meir, who is afraid of
the meeting, hires substitute parents who will play the role of his very
left-wing parents, who have no problem at all with the fact that their son is
in a relationship with an Arab woman. Amjad invites Bushra out to a fancy
restaurant, where all of Jerusalem's elite set go and ends up in a mess with
his neighbor, the dishwasher at the restaurant.
The race for the money reaches the delivery room. A known
millionaire declares that he will award a million NIS to the first baby that is
born on Independence Day. Bushra and Amjad compete with the Chen couple on who
will give birth first.
is the national independent public transmedia organization formed by the merger
between KCET and Link Media. A viewer-supported 501c(3) organization, its
content is distributed nationally via satellite on DirecTV (375) and DISH (9410),
in Southern and Central California via broadcast, as well as through various
digital delivery systems. The combined organization reaches a wide broadcast
audience that includes Link TV's 33 million satellite subscribers and KCET's
5.6 million households in Southern and Central California. KCETLink is
committed to driving public media innovation with smarter ways to access
content that engages all audiences with global storytelling. For additional
information about KCETLink productions, web-exclusive content, programming
schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org.