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Bill in Knesset Calls for Emd of Censorship of Cultural Activities in the Country

A private members bill calling for the end of censorship of cultural activities in Israel passed its first reading in the Knesset today by a vote of 44-33. Four members of Premier Menachem Begin’s coalition joined the opposition in the vote.

The Knesset announced, meanwhile, that it will hold a full scale debate tomorrow on a new satirical production “The Patriot.” which the Neve Zedek Theater Group is performing in Tel Aviv in defiance of a ban by the government-appointed film and theatrical censorship board. The debate will also include another controversial anti-establishment play, “The Jewish Soul,” now being performed in Haifa. It has annoyed Orthodox and nationalistic groups.

Odded Kotler and Dan Tracz, the artistic and organizational directors respectively of the Neve Zedek group were summoned to police headquarters today to explain why they staged “The Patriot” despite orders to cancel the performances.

A police officer attended the banned performance last night but did not try to stop it. The police are not expected to take any further action. Police sources explained that there are certain contradictions in the artistic censorship law originally promulgated by the British Mandate authorities in 1926.

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