Hachaverim Shel Barney (Hebrew: החברים של ברני, lit: Barney's Friends) is the Israeli co-production of Barney & Friends. The original co-production of this series aired from 1997-2000 on various networks in Israel (notably Telad and children's channel "Hop!") and has since been released on VHS and DVD.
The late Itzik Kol, one of the heads of Israeli entertainment company Roll Communications, was inspired by Barney. His daughter, like several children in the early 90's, became entranced with the purple dinosaur, which inspired him to pursue the rights to produce an Israeli adaptation of the show. He approached Lyrick Studios in 1995, but was initially denied, told that he was only allowed to air the show dubbed. He felt that "putting Hebrew words into American kids' mouths" wouldn't work. Realizing that Sheryl Leach and her father in law, Richard Leach, were devout Christians, Mr. Kol asked "Why not have Barney speak in the language of the Bible?" This sealed the deal and, under strict guidelines, the show could be produced. One of these guidelines was that the episodes could only be adapted from their US counterparts, with very few script changes. When the agreement went through, it cost Roll Communications $41,000 per episode to produce (Only $500 per episode went to Lyrick), making it one of the most expensive children's shows produced in Israel.
Roll gave some of the Barney titles from the first season of the show to Clasikaletet for video release and they have been released on DVD as well. Sisu Entertainment distributes the Clasikaletet DVDs in North America. Season 2 videos were also released in Israel, distributed by Five Star Entertainment.
- Barney (voice) - Avi Taramin (אבי טרמין) and Yehoyachin Friedlander (יהויכין פרידלנדר)
- Barney (costume) - Josh Sagi (ג'וש שגיא)
- Buba Bon (voice) - Tzipi Mor (ציפי מור)
- Buba Bon (costume) - Penny Abraham
- Bobby Ben voice) - Unknown
- Bobby Ben (costume) - Unknown
- Yana- Yana Kotlyar
- Aviv - Yahala Lachmish
- Dana - Noy Ben-Ami
- Amir - Amir Lakner
- Nir - Nir Oaknin
- Tom - Tom Baromer
- Miki - Ira Biram
- Ran - Ran Bakor
- Noa - Etti Lijishal
- Tal - Tal Balahusky
- Yael - Yahab Shoster
- Karen - Linoy Kapach (Season 1)
- Mai - Mai Jacobson
- Jodey - Nehemia Hadar
- Karen - Noper Brailovsky (Season 2)
- Hillel - Hillel Greitzer
- Isod - Ido Ben Yosef
- Josh Saguy, who plays the Barney costume, is slightly shorter than standard Barney performers.
- Despite the fact script tinkering was rarely done, some episodes had segments or even whole storylines changed to fit Israeli traditions (Hola, Mexico! was now about an Arabian hafla (feast) instead of a Mexican fiesta, and London Bridge was sung as "Yarkon Bridge" in Caring Means Sharing).
- In 2004, Barney's Great Adventure was dubbed into Hebrew as ההרפתקה הגדולה של ברני (Ha'harpatka Hagdola Shel Barney). Barney was voiced by Yehoyachin Friedlander (Who did a couple episodes before Avi Termin joined the cast), Baby Bop was still voiced by Tzipi Mor and she also did BJ's voice (This is currently the only source of Hebrew material available online that includes BJ as no actual original co-production episodes with BJ are available online). BJ's name is also kept intact unlike in the show, where his name was changed to "Bobby Ben". Due to the involvement of a different team, songs like If All the Raindrops and I Love You got new translations. In addition, You Can Do Anything, Rainbows Follow the Rain and the reprise of Barney - The Song were replaced by Imagine in the credits.
- Based on this original co-production, three Hebrew albums were released. These include: