Israel Violence Throws Production of USA's Jerusalem Drama 'Dig' Into Question

Executive producer Gideon Raff ("Homeland," "Tyrant") said he hoped things would calm down and the show will be able to continue working there.
Gideon Raff

The unrest in Israel has thrown production of USA's Jerusalem-set Dig into question. The drama, which is something of a Da Vinci Code murder mystery set in present-day Jerusalem, is currently on a preplanned hiatus between the pilot and series production. Executive producer Gideon Raff, who also is a producer on FX's Middle East-set Tyrant, admitted that the violence in Israel and Gaza "caught us off guard."

But he said the studio (Keshet and BermanBraun) and the network are "assessing the situation" and "looking at all of our options."

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He did not elaborate on what those options might be. Dig stars Jason Isaacs and Anne Heche and is co-executive produced by Heroes' Tim Kring. Like Tyrant, production is based in Tel Aviv, which boasts a thriving film community. But the Dig pilot did considerable location filming in Jerusalem.

"Hopefully everything will calm down and we'll go back to working there. And if not, we'll sort it out," said Raff.

Raff, who grew up in Jerusalem, added that the holy city "is a key element in our show. We wanted to and chose to shoot in Jerusalem because of all the history there. Our hearts go out to everyone in Israel and in Gaza for what is happening there right now, and hopefully it will be resoled very soon."

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Israeli commandos mounted a raid of the Gaza Strip in the early morning hours Saturday, destroying Hamas rocket-launching sites. Israeli Defense Forces also issued warnings to residents of the northern Gaza Strip — via thousands of leaflets dropped from planes — that they had until noon to leave their homes, signaling more air strikes.

The Israeli Defense Forces launched its offensive July 8 after weeks of rocket assaults from Hamas. Since then, the IDF have engaged in air strikes targeting Hamas' rocket-launching sites in Gaza. The violence already has scuttled many events associated with the Jerusalem Film Festival, including the fest's opening-night gala.