High Court Says ‘temptation’ May Be Screened in Israel

The High Court of Justice ruled Thursday that the controversial 1988 film “The Last Temptation of Christ” may be shown in Israel.

The court thereby reversed the government censor, who banned the film from Israeli screens on grounds that it was offensive to Christians.

“The Last Temptation of Christ,” a Universal Pictures film, was directed by Martin Scorsese and based on a novel by the late Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis.

By depicting the “human side” of Jesus, including his sexuality, the film offended some Christians, though it was praised by others.

It enraged the religious right in America. Although Scorsese and Kazantzakis were Roman and Greek Catholics respectively, the fury of American fundamentalists was manifested in gross anti-Semitism.

The Israeli censor’s ban, supported by ultra-Orthodox Jews here, may have been influenced by the reactions of right-wing Christians in America, many of them enthusiastic supporters of Israel.

But the court decided after seeing the film that only “an extreme, brutal and deep insult can justify a violation of the freedom of expression.”

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