Keshet, HBO Tap Israeli Director For Series On Hunt For Top Hezbollah Figure Based On Best-Selling Book
Keshet International, the global production and distribution arm of Israeli media company Keshet Media Group, and US premium cable network HBO have tapped Israeli film director Yuval Adler to write and direct a new limited series on Israel’s covert targeted killing program, Deadline first reported last week. The show will be based on the best-selling book “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History Of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations” by Dr. Ronen Bergman, an Israeli journalist, columnist, and researcher.
The first season will focus on the unprecedented joint operation of the CIA and the Israeli Mossad to assassinate senior Hezbollah figure Imad Mughniyeh, who topped the CIA and FBI “Most Wanted” list.
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The book was acquired by Keshet and HBO in 2018. The series will be shot in Israel with Adler and Bergman as executive producers, alongside Keshet International’s Avi Nir, Peter Traugott, and Alon Shtruzman.
The two-year hunt for Mughniyeh in the 2000s was one of the most high-risk and complicated joint operations in recent history. He was killed in an explosion after exiting a restaurant in Damascus in 2008.
Mughniyeh was the Lebanese terror group’s international operations chief and the organization’s number two, after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. He’s been accused of being behind dozens of terrorist operations across the globe, including the US embassy and barracks bombings in Beirut in 1983 where over 350 people were killed, multiple kidnappings of Americans, and the 1992 attack against the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires where 29 were killed and hundreds injured.
US intelligence officials have accused him of killing more American citizens than any other man, prior to the September 11 attacks, according to Deadline.
Bergman details the operation – and many others – in his 2018 book, whose title he borrowed from a line in the Talmud (a primary source in Jewish religious law) that says, “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” He conducted a thousand interviews with leading Israeli figures from military leaders to prime ministers to heads of intelligence organizations, as well as operatives.
Adler has previously directed the Israeli film “Bethlehem” as well as the international thriller “The Operative” and the TV series “Shooter.” He just wrapped production on a drama called “The Secrets We Keep” about Holocaust survivors who rebuild their lives in New York after World War II.