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April 28, 2020 12:18 pm
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Episode of New Saudi TV Series Presents Positive View of Israel

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Actor Nasser Al-Qasabi in a scene from the Saudi TV series ‘Exit 7.’ Photo: Screenshot.

A new Ramadan television series is making waves in the Arab world, arousing controversy for taking a relatively positive view of Israel.

The Israeli news site N12 reported that the show — broadcast on the Saudi-run MBC network — is titled “Exit 7.” It is a comedy program dealing with current affairs, and one episode addressed relations with Israel.

The episode depicted a father who discovers his son Ziad interacting online with an Israeli boy named Ezra. He tells his wife, “I told Ziad, you will sever the relationship with him immediately!” to which his wife replies, “You’re overreacting, let the kids play.”

Later, the father turns to Ziad’s grandfather, who tells him, “The Israelis are human beings like you, the State of Israel exists, whether you want it or not.”

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The grandfather then criticizes the Palestinians for attacking Saudi Arabia despite Saudi support for them.

When the father says Israel will eventually disappear, the grandfather disagrees, saying, “In the end, those who fall one by one are Arab states. Israel remains in place.”

The father is portrayed by Nasser Al-Qasabi, one of the Arab world’s most famous and respected actors.

The episode represents one of the first times a Saudi cultural project has shown Israel in a good light, and has naturally aroused considerable controversy, with some Twitter and Facebook users calling for a boycott of MBC in its entirety.

The news site The New Arab quoted Palestinian author and academic Dr. Nawaf Tamimi as saying of the series, “This entire episode was a clear attempt to normalize the audience’s minds over Israel.”

“This is just part of the growing systemic discourse adopted by the advocates of Israeli normalization in the ‘new’ Saudi Arabia,” Tamimi added.

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