Lebanon angry that Homeland was filmed in Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2012
Claire Danes 'in Beirut' in the second series of Homeland

Claire Danes 'in Beirut' in the second series of Homeland

When the producers of Homeland chose to return to the country where the series originated, Israeli fans were delighted, with former Hamas prisoner Gilad Shalit even making a visit to the set.

But the decision to use Israeli locations – including Jaffa and Tel Aviv – as stand - ins for areas in the Lebanese city of Beirut, has apparently angered Arab viewers.

At the start of the second series Claire Danes' character is sent to Beirut to track down a source, who has information about the fictional terrorist ringleader Abu Nazir.

But according to the Lebanese Tourism Minister, scenes showing her fleeing terrorists on the streets of Beirut or dodging gunmen in a private home on Hamra Street are misrepresentative of the city. Hizbollah is widely believed to operate out of Beirut and the southern Lebanon area.

"The Information Minister is studying media laws to see what can be done," said Fadi Abboud, the Tourism Minister. "[Homeland] showed Hamra Street with militia roaming in it. This does not reflect reality."

He told Associated Press: "It was not filmed in Beirut and does not portray the real image of Beirut."

Homeland also filmed scenes in Israel before the first series – inspired by Gideon Raff's Hebrew-language series about missing soldiers returning home - became an international hit. Then, it was used as a double for Iraq.

Speaking to the New York Times magazine recently, Ms Danes referred to the "extremely positive and generous spirit towards us," that she experienced during filming. "The tension was palpable… but I didn't ever feel particularly threatened," she added. "It has been a lot more fun and cosmopolitan than I had anticipated."

Last updated: 1:17pm, October 19 2012