Fiery Play’s Directors Quit

The artistic directors of the Haifa Municipal Theater, Yehoshua Sobol and Gedalia Besser, angrily resigned Monday because of the furor over Sobol’s controversial play, “The Jerusalem Syndrome.”

Performed in modern dress and modern idiom, the play takes place in the year 70 C.E. and deals with the Jewish revolt against Rome, which ended with the destruction of the Second Temple. The play blames Jewish zealotry and extremism for the downfall of Judaca.

It was commissioned for Tel Aviv’s “Original Theater Festival,” part of Israel’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Its opening at the Habima Theater in Tel Aviv last Saturday night was marred by fisticuffs and curses as right-wingers in the audience, trying to halt the performance, battled viewers sympathetic to Sobol’s ideas.

Sobol and Besser complained about the “unceasing interference of politicians who meddle in the activities of the theater.”

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