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August 18, 2022 11:41 am

‘Shtisel’ Co-Creator Helms Biographical Mini-Series About Founder of Zionism Theodor Herzl

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Theodor Herzl, considered the father of modern-day Zionism, leans over the balcony of the Hotel Les Trois Rois (Three King’s Hotel/Hotel drei Könige) in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A biographical mini-series about Jewish journalist, playwright and founder of Zionism Theodor Herzl is in the early stages of development and is being led by the co-creator and writer of the popular Israeli television series “Shtisel,” Deadline reported on Thursday.

The series will reportedly be based on Herzl’s personal diaries and will follow his journey from becoming a playwright to founding the Zionist movement. “Shtisel” visionary Ori Elon, who also wrote the Israeli television series “Srugim,” has partnered on the project with Inbar Nacht, who is financing the show’s script, according to Deadline.

Born in 1860 in what is now considered Budapest, Hungary — though at the time it was part of the Austrian Empire — Herzl had a critical role in establishing the modern State of Israel.

While working as a journalist in Paris, he attended the trial of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish captain in the French army who was falsely convicted of spying for Germany. After seeing the antisemitism surrounding the Dreyfus affair, Herzl believed Jews needed their own nation. He founded and was the president of the World Zionist Organization, a political movement to establish an independent Jewish state, but died in 1904, at the age of 44, before Israel’s establishment.

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“Shtisel,” which has become a popular show both in Israel and across the world, revolves around an ultra-Orthodox family, the Shtisels, living in Jerusalem. Its protagonist Akiva, played by actor Michael Aloni, begins the series as a single and talented painter who has a hard time parting from his artwork. In December 2018, Netflix began streaming the show’s first two seasons, which ran on Israeli television in 2013 and from 2015-16.

The third season of “Shtisel” premiered on Netflix on March 25.

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