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Religious Leaders Protest Play

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A play that Israeli authorities have banned because it allegedly insults the Christian faith was the subject of a protest yesterday by Bethlehem religious leaders. They cabled the Minister for Religious Affairs to object to the financial support playwright Amos Kenan, author of “Friends Talk About Jesus,” receives from the Education Ministry. The Bethlehem elders read in the Arabic press about the furor in Israel over the play and called a meeting which decided to send a protest.

Kenan, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, said that he suspected the protest was instigated by Israeli quarters hostile to him. Mayor Alias Frej of Bethlehem denied the allegation. Many Israelis have objected vehemently against the ban which they say is unjustified government censorship. Kenan’s supporters point out that the play is allegorical and represents an indictment of Israeli society rather than an insult to the Christian faith. They hint that that was the real reason behind the ban.

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