With a name like “The Prime Minister’s Cabinet,” you’d think this television show was yet another British drama, a “Downton Abbey” sequel starring, say, Winston Churchill. But it’s not—no, it has nothing to do with Brits, but with, of all things, Israelis. Yes, in a culture story today, The New York Times devotes a full piece to an obscure Israeli political drama, made for T.V., that even critics in Israeli seem lukewarm about.
So why all the attention? Because the creator, Noa Rothman, is Yitzhak Rabin’s granddaughter. And she’s no ordinary figure beyond that: she gave the moving eulogy at her grandfather’s funeral in November 1995, after Rabin was murdered by Jewish extremists for attempting to make peace with Yassir Arafat. Rothman was 18 then, and afterward tried to live a fairly normal life. She became a lawyer and worked for the Tel Aviv D.A.
Then, a few years ago, a screenwriter, Shahar Magen, approached Rothman about helping him write a drama about Israeli politics. The idea they conceived was “The Prime Minister’s Cabinet,” which begins its second season in Israel this summer, and follows a fictional prime minister and the personal dramas that consume him.
But if you expect insights into Rabin’s life, you’d be disappointed. The fictional P.M. the show follows is a right-wing conservative, worried about his own political survival above all. The article doesn’t mention if the conceit is meant as a jab at the Netanyahu, Israel’s very real right-wing P.M., but certainly the two share something in common. In any event, here’s hoping the show’s a success, and Israel gets to enjoy what we in America enjoyed for years: it was called “The West Wing,” and was indeed a big hit.