On the Big Screen, Where All the Arabs Are Israeli

By Ephron, Dan | Newsweek, December 22, 2008 | Go to article overview

On the Big Screen, Where All the Arabs Are Israeli


Ephron, Dan, Newsweek


Byline: Dan Ephron

Anyone watching HBO's ongoing miniseries "House of Saddam" surely must be struck by the lead actor's resemblance to the late Iraqi dictator. Me? I was struck by something else: his Israeli accent. "Why does Saddam Hussein sound like my old grocer in Jerusalem?" I called out before checking the movie credits online. (Yes, an Israeli, but no, not my grocer.)

The post-9/11 era might be Hollywood's Arab moment. But Israeli actors seem to be reaping the benefit, getting many of the best parts. Take Yigal Naor. Before portraying Saddam Hussein, the stout actor from Tel Aviv played Iraqi Ahmed Chalabi in "10 Days to War," an Arab interrogator in the Hollywood film "Rendition" and a Palestinian militant in Steven Spielberg's "Munich." One of his costars in "House of Saddam" is Israeli Uri Gavriel, who portrays the depraved Chemical Ali. Gavriel also played a Saudi terrorist in "The Kingdom."

The cultural crossover has a long history and has made a few Israelis regulars on the Hollywood character-actor circuit. Sasson Gabai says his run began with "The Impossible Spy," a 1987 British film in which he played Syria's defense minister. Since then, he has portrayed Arabs or Muslims in at least 10 films, most notably "Rambo III." (He was Sylvester Stallone's Afghan guide.) "It's probably a combination of my Mediterranean look and my acting skills," he says. Even Chaim Topol, who played Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" in the West End, has an Arab role to his credit: in the 1966 Kirk Douglas war drama "Cast a Giant Shadow."

Israeli actors are often preferred, some in the industry say, because their English tends to be good and their acting style is Western--as opposed to the more florid, theatrical technique popular in Arab drama. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

On the Big Screen, Where All the Arabs Are Israeli
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.