First Person

The Jerusalem Murder That Set Off a War


Ram Masarweh as Mohammed Abu Khdeir in HBO’s “Our Boys.”
Ram Masarweh as Mohammed Abu Khdeir in HBO’s “Our Boys.” PC Ran Mendelson/HBO

An Israeli drama series on HBO about the 2014 murder of a Palestinian teen stirs compassion and controversy.

In the summer of 2014, three Israeli teens disappeared while hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank. Their bodies were found after 18 days of trauma and suspense for much of the country—they had been abducted and killed by Palestinian militants.

Days later, a group of Israelis kidnapped and killed a Palestinian teenager from East Jerusalem in an act of revenge.

The story of the murders—which helped set off a war between Israel and Gaza—is told in a 10-part drama series now airing on HBO called Our Boys.

The show was created jointly by three filmmakers—two Israeli and one Palestinian—Hagai Levi, Joseph Cedar, and Tawfik Abu Wael. One of the three, Hagai Levi, is our guest on First Person this week.

About First Person:  Each week on First Person, we conduct a narrative-driven conversation with one person whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world. Our guests tend to be people who have participated directly in events, either as protagonists or eyewitnesses. We get them to tell their story, not just offer analysis. First Person is hosted by FP deputy editor Sarah Wildman. Sarah is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in the New York TimesSlate, Vox and the New Yorker online. She is the author of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind.  See All Episodes


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