Shalom Life | January 03, 2015

'Homeland' Slammed For Comparing Former Prime Minister Begin To Taliban Leader

The series has recently come under fire for slander against the former Prime Minister, as well as for its depiction of Pakistan

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: December 30th, 2014 in News » Israel

Photo: The fiction Haissam Haqqani, portrayed by Numan Acar


The popular Showtime television program Homeland has come under fire after airing its season four finale, where they compared former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban Leader. Former Prime Minister Begin is a decorated hero of Israel, and is known for leading a revolt against the British mandatory government before the founding of an independent Israel and long before his election into office.

The season four finale, which aired on December 21st, shows CIA agent Dar Adal, as played by F. Murray Abraham, justifying a deal he made with the Taliban leader by referencing the actions of Begin during the revolt against the British during a conversation with CIA director Saul Berenson, as played by Jewish actor Mandy Patinkin.

In the conversation with Berenson, Adal says “Menachem Begin killed 91 British soldiers at the King David Hotel before becoming Prime Minister.” The character was referring to a bombing at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which took place in 1946. The attack was carried out by a right-winged militant Jewish group, the Irgun, which was run by Begin at the time.

It’s a bold claim to make, even in a conversation between two fictional characters, and according to many it borders on slander. Herzl Makov, the director of Israel’s Menachem Begin Center, believes that Homeland has crossed a line.

“To say, ‘Begin killed’? He wasn’t even there,” explained Makov, as reported by The Algemeiner. “The underground resistance group was under his command, and he took responsibility. In addition, three warnings were given to the British to vacate and their commander refused. So there is a dramatic difference between the two cases compared. For me, it is like saying that [Begin and Homeland’s Taliban leader] are both terrorists, just like saying they both wore brown shirts,” he continued. “It’s surprising specifically because Homeland is based on the Israeli [TV series] format Prisoners of War.”

In addition to creating waves with the Begin comment, the show has also gotten some heat from the Pakistani government for portraying their country as a refuge for Islamic terrorists on the run from the government. The show has since declined to comment on the issue.

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