One to listen out for on BBC World Service radio

BBC World Service radio is currently promoting what it describes as “an epic podcast drama about the momentous events leading up to the creation of Israel – seen through the eyes of two people, one a Jew, the other an Arab”.

The ten-part series – written by British playwright Steve Waters and titled ‘Miriam and Youssef’ – will be aired weekly commencing on April 29th, Israel’s Independence Day. A promo was released on April 22nd.

The BBC’s media centre describes the series as follows:

“An epic ten-part podcast and radio drama series from the BBC World Service charts the turbulent decades leading up to the founding of Israel.

Miriam And Youssef is told from the viewpoints of two former neighbours: Miriam, a Jewish refugee who emigrates to Palestine, and Youssef, a Palestinian Arab. Set between 1917 and the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, their lives are intertwined with real-life historical characters and events.

While Miriam is determined to make a home in this new land for herself and her fellow Jews, Youssef, the son of the leader of a local village, is offered work at the British Mandate offices. But as politics and religious forces swirl around them, the family and community loyalties and beliefs of these two hopeful young people are challenged. And as conflicts between Jews and Palestinians increase, both become involved with violent resistance movements. But the future is unpredictable. Might they both eventually find a way to live in peace? […]

At the heart of the series is the city of Jerusalem, seen during the three decades of the British Mandate. The drama also features real-life figures including David Ben-Gurion, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and American intellectual Rabbi Judah Magnes, whose lives intersect with the core fictional characters.”

The BBC states that:

“Although the series is fictional, it is based on fact. Every effort has been made to ensure that the series is culturally, linguistically and historically accurate.”

The synopsis to episode one reads:

Episode One: Twice Promised Land
1917. The British enter Palestine at the start of the Mandate, following the Balfour Declaration that a homeland for the Jews should be established in Palestine. We meet young Youssef Bannourah and his family. They befriend newly arrived British civil servant Harry Lister, who takes up residence in their village of Deir Yassin. Meanwhile, Miriam and her mother Sara flee Jewish persecution in Poland and make their way to Palestine.”

As regular readers will know, the BBC has long promoted the myth of the ‘twice promised land’.

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