Israeli actors protest closing Palestinian theater


Some Israelis and Palestinians are on the same side, if only for the puppets.

Puppeteers from the Israeli version of Sesame Street are protesting Israel’s closure of a Palestinian puppet festival.  The closure stems from Israel’s Ministry of Public Security, which ordered the temporary closure of the Hakawati Theater, a Palestinian theater in eastern Jerusalem where the children’s puppet festival was supposed to take place.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said organizers illegally received funds from the Palestinian Authority. Israel prohibits Palestinian government activity in Israeli controlled Jerusalem.

Ariel Doron, the voice of Elmo on the Israeli version of Sesame Street, and Yousef Sweid, who plays an Arab muppet on the show, advocated for the festival by creating a Facebook group called Puppets4All, in protest of the closure.

“I think every boy and girl deserves to see puppet theater,” said Doron. “There is no sense to this.”

Doron said Monday that his support of the festival is an independent effort, not connected with Sesame Street.


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