Reporting from Tel Aviv —— When the season finale of the Showtime thriller “Homeland” ran last month, it didn’t just cap Claire Danes’ triumphant return to series television — it marked the latest milestone for a small country that lately has become an improbable player in Hollywood.
“Homeland,” which broke Showtime’s ratings record for a first-year series finale, is adapted from the Israeli show “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War). It’s one of a host of U.S. programs that began life as a Hebrew-language series in this Mediterranean nation of only 8 million people. “Who’s Still Standing?,” the new NBC quiz program in which contestants answering incorrectly are dropped through a hole in the floor, is also an Israeli import. So is the former HBO scripted series “In Treatment,” which starred Gabriel Byrne and ran for three seasons.