Gideon Raff, the Israeli Creator of ”Homeland” – Israeli TV series have relatively laughable budgets compared to American shows. Whereas an episode of a hit like “Mad Men” reportedly costs $2.5 million, the average per-episode budget of an Israeli show is about fifty thousand dollars, according to Raff. (“Hatufim” is exceptional in averaging a hundred and eighty thousand dollars an episode.) Both Raff and Telem told me that this financial disadvantage often works in these shows’ favor, since the emphasis gets placed on the quality of writing and dialogue—transferable things—rather than on big-name actors or elaborate set designs. The advantage runs even deeper than that: because of their limited budgets, Raff said, Israeli networks only develop series after reading their entire seasonal arc. This allows the writers more creative freedom to begin with, as they are less prone to ratings-related pressures. As Raff explained, Israeli shows are also forced to shoot “horizontally”—according to location—and not episodically like most American shows. This means that an entire season is edited before its first episode even airs, which creates a greater sense of continuity (and lends shows a feature-film-like quality).