Isla Fisher, Ayelet Zurer (“Munich,” “Shtisel”) and Lior Raz, co-creator and star of Netflix breakout hit “Fauda,” were among those on hand Thursday night at a fundraising soiree held at a private residence in Los Angeles to benefit the Cord, an Israel-based organization founded in 1999 by Igal and Dana Goldstein that serves troubled and homeless youth. Guests, which also included Israeli actress Moran Atias (“24,” “Tyrant”) and Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, Sam Grundwerg, partied to live music and dined on kosher Mediterranean cuisine.
“The work that the Cord does is so important not only because of the immediate help that it provides troubled youth, but because it also provides much needed life skills so that these kids can help themselves,” said Grundwerg. “The Cord provides hope.”
Event host Raz, who based “Fauda” on his own his experiences as an undercover operative in the Israel Defense Forces, offered up a free plane ticket to Israel and a walk-on part in Season 2 of the series, which begins shooting next month. In exchange for a $5,000 donation to the org, an offer snapped up for an inflated $7,000 by one enthusiastic attendee.
Raz also opened up about the initial struggle to get “Fauda” sold, and his continued surprise at the series’ commercial and critical success.
“Nobody wanted it in Israel—not [television networks] Keshet, not Reshet, not Channel 2,” said Raz, who created the series with Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff, with whom Raz served in the IDF. “And then we sold it to Netflix, and it became a huge hit in the U.S. and Canada.
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Raz continued, “Three months ago I went to Miami, and when you go through immigration as an Israeli and you don’t have an American passport, it’s quite a frightening thing. So I thought, ‘What is this officer going to ask me?’ And then she looked at me — she stared at me — and she asked, ‘What about ‘Fauda’ Season 2?’”
“Fauda” is also a huge hit in the Arab market where it’s broadcast in Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
“’Fauda’ changed not only my life — but everybody who’s seen it has changed a little bit on the inside, because they’ve developed an understanding of the other side,” said Raz. “I’m getting emails from the Arab world, and they love it.”
Even Hamas plugged the show.
“When they saw ‘Fauda’ they wrote an article about it in on their official website,” said Raz. “They called it an awful show, said you can’t see it, said because they can’t kill us on the field, they kill us on television. Then they included a link for the first episode of the show.”
While Raz kept relatively mum about Season 2 specifics, he did reveal that “it will be much more personal.”
“It’s going to talk about revenge,” he added. “And it’s going to have a lot — a lot — of action.”