Habimah and Israel Opera Refuse to Suspend Hostilities

The Israel Opera Company and the Habimah Theatre, which have been feuding over the former’s use of the latter’s hall, and whose companies have come to blows over the situation, both rejected today a suggestion from the Ministry of Interior that they suspend hostilities on the basis of an agreement to permit the Opera Company to use the hall for six more weeks while it arranges for alternate facilities.

Meanwhile, police have released a number of persons arrested yesterday, including E. Zohar, manager of the Opera Company, who broke into the theatre which had been padlocked against them by the actors’ group. Several persons were injured slightly during the fracas between the police and over 100 Opera Company adherents who “invaded” the theatre.

The dispute goes back several years and is rooted in the opera group’s inability to find suitable alternate space. One compromise agreement worked out early this year gave the Opera Company six months to find other premises. When the grace period expired without results, the Habimah refused to permit further opera presentations, but last week the opera group broke into the locked theatre and presented a scheduled performance of a Grieg opera.

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