Israel freezes funding for Arab theater over controversial play


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli government has frozen funding for an Arab theater that is presenting a play about a Palestinian prisoner who murdered an Israeli soldier.

The funding for the Al-Midan theater in Haifa was suspended on Tuesday by the Ministry of Culture and Sport pending a review of the theater’s funding sources. Members of the ministry’s theater department visited the Al-Midan two days ago, Haaretz reported.

Culture Minister Miri Regev announced the freeze and the review of the theater’s sources of funding in a statement that also was posted on Facebook.

Al-Midan has been under fire for its play “A Parallel Life,” which looks at a day in the life of the Palestinian prisoner.

Regev said in the statement that she met with the family of Moshe Tamam, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1984, to tell them about the situation. The play is based on the story of Tamam’s killer.

Also Tuesday, the Jerusalem International Film Festival decided not to screen a film about Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin at next month’s festival.

The decision comes after Regev threatened to pull her ministry’s funding from the festival, which runs from July 9 to 19.

“Beyond the Fear” takes a more sympathetic look at Yigal Amir’s life in prison, where the 45-year-old is serving a life sentence for the 1995 slaying of the prime minister. The documentary film chronicles Amir’s relationship with Larissa Trimbobler, who he married a decade ago and with whom he has a son.

The film was made by the Latvian-Israeli director Herz Frank, who died two years ago during production. His wife, Maria Kravchenko, completed the effort. The film reportedly was included in the festival as a tribute to Frank.

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