Hatufim

The symbolism behind the names of some of the show’s characters:

[*major spoilers ahead*]

Amiel is the name of the remaining Israeli hostage in Syria, but he is Yusuf to the Syrians. The Israelis see him as still part of ‘my nation’ – Ami – while the to the Syrians he is very much like the Biblical Joseph (Yusuf), who was taken from his home against his will but became a political leader and manipulator in a foreign land, who, when approached by his brothers again in his new territory, was holding all the cards on both sides. It was ultimately up to him to choose who to betray: his old brothers or his new ones.

Amiel’s last name is Ben-Horin: “son of free man.” On Passover we are called “b’nei horin,” children of freedom. When the Israelites left Egypt they became free men. Only when Amiel Ben-Horin returns to Israel will he be able to assume this name safely, and thus be considered a “free man.”

It is interesting to consider his wife’s name as well. It is Leila, meaning ‘born at night’ – he is completely devoted to her despite having met her in the darkest times and married her under false pretenses.

Then, there’s Ami’s sister, Yael, who last saw him as a young girl. He called her “Lali,” which sounds a heck of a lot like Leila. At season 2’s end, (*spoiler alert*) we see him trade one “Leila” for the other.

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