Valley of Tears (Hebrew: עֵמֶק הַבָּכָא, Emek HaBakha), (Series original name: Hebrew: שְׁעַת נְעִילָה, Sh‘at Ne’ila – meaning “Ne’ila time”) is an Israeli war series directed by Yaron Zilberman based on a screenplay by Ron Leshem and starring Aviv Alush, Joy Rieger and Lior Ashkenazi. The production of the series lasted about a decade and its filming took place over 52 days starting on 21 July 2019. The premiere episode of the first season aired on Kan 11 on 19 October 2020. It was subsequently licensed by HBO Max, airing on 12 November 2020.
The series depicts the battles of the Yom Kippur War, with the first season focusing on the northern front of the war, and a second season focusing on the southern front of the fighting is also planned. The series has been described as one of the most expensive television series in Israel, with advanced technologies used to recreate the battles, including the Battle of the Valley of Tears, and the cost of each episode reaching one million dollars.
On 06 October 1973, the Yom Kippur War broke out, when Arab states led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise invasion and almost defeated Israel on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar: Yom Kippur. The story is told from the perspective of three characters, thrown into the heart of battle and war, whose effects are intoxicating and addictive.
- Aviv Alush as Lieutenant Yoav Mazoz.
- Tom Hagi as Sergeant Shendori.
- Shahar Taboch as Corporal Avinoam Shapira.
- Lee Biran as Private Yoni Ben-Dror.
- Maor Schwizer as Corporal Melakhi Bardugo.
- Ofer Hayun as Corporal Marco Dolzi.
- Imri Biton as Corporal Jackie Alush.
- Omer Perlman as Staff sergeant Nimrod Caspi.
- Joy Rieger as Lieutenant Dafna.
- Lior Ashkenazi as Menny Ben-Dror.
- Tom Avni as Captain Tamir.
- Ido Bartal as Lieutenant Aviram.
- Lidor Edri as Riki Dolzi.
- Tom Gal as Staff sergeant Fiksman.
- Ohad Knoller as Colonel Meir Almogi.
- Ofri Biterman as Lieutenant Elad.
- Ami Smolartchik as Bentzi.
Production started on 21 July 2019, with filming in Hebrew. It was Israel’s highest-budgeted program, with Deadline Hollywood reporting that each episode cost around $1 million. A number of “the most prominent Israeli novelists in Israel” were involved in the script. It was produced by WestEnd Films, Endemol Shine Israel, United King and KAN. Before filming began, there were ten years of development with Moshe Edery at United King. After the ten years needed to get the process fully financed, the filming took place in the Golan Heights. At one point, filming was stopped for three weeks due to nearby fighting in Syria.
The cost was attributed to the battle scenes and also the creatives hired for the project. For filming, Ron Leshem and Amit Cohen “studied Israeli army lingo and thousands of soldier testimonies. They also found and rehabilitated tanks that were actually used in the war with the help of Israel Defence Forces technicians, who outfitted them with new engines.”
On 13 October 2020, distributor WestEnd Films announced it had sold global rights to the series to HBO Max. It began streaming on HBO Max in the United States on 12 November.
Hollywood Suite announced in November 2020 that it had acquired broadcast rights to the series in Canada, with broadcasts beginning 19 December. This comes despite HBO Max’s acquisition of global rights, as in most cases the Canadian rights to these programmes are assumed by Crave.
Valley of Tears Series
You can find a full index and overview of Valley of Tears here.
- Episode 01: Pride Before A Fall.
- Episode 02: The Heavens Are Watching.
- Episode 03: My Rock, My Fortress.
- Episode 04: Strength of My Foes.
- Episode 05: Stuck on the Hill.
- Episode 06: Rain on Us!
- Episode 07: Night at the Bunker.
- Episode 08: Preparing for the Big Battle.
- Episode 09: The Abyss.
- Episode 10: Valley of Tears.
Production & Filming Details
- Creator(s): Ron Leshem.
- Director(s): Yaron Zilberman.
- Producer(s): Amit Cohen, Matan Gaida, Noa Gavish, Ron Leshem, Maya Amsellem, David Betzer, Moshe Edery, and Sharon Harel-Cohen.
- Writer(s): Daniel Amsel, Amit Cohen, Amir Gutfreund, Izhar Harlev, Yael Hedaya, Ron Leshem, Gal Zaid, and Yaron Zilberman.
- Music: Ophir Leibovitch.
- Cinematography: Amit Yasur.
- Editor(s): Itamar Goldwasser, Yuval Shar, Dov Steuer, and Yonatan Weinstein.
- Production: WestEnd Films, United King Films, KAN: Israeli Public Broadcasting, Endemol Shine Israel, and Endemol Israel.
- Distributor(s): HBO Max (worldwide).
- Release Date: 19 October 2020 to 07 December 2020.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: Israel.
- Language: Hebrew.