On Thursday last week, just before the Cinema South International Film Festival began, posters advertising all the films to be screened that week were hung in the Sderot Cinematheque. One, however, was censored by the southern city. Their reason: it didn't suit some of the passersby.
The poster in question shows the actor Amir Hillel (the star of the hit musical, Billy Schwartz) split into two frames: in one, he is wearing a prayer shawl and kipah, and in the other, he is in his underwear.
The poster is for a pilot by Omer Tiram, God Forbid. Hillel stars as Ruby, a religious man who runs into financial difficulties that end up resulting in his working as a gigolo. The poster thus portrays both sides of the character.
Some religious passersby saw the poster and ripped it from the Sderot Cinematheque's walls. The Film and Television School of Sapir College, which coordinates the festival, received threats from those responsible. In response, the poster was immediately removed, and the festival's management made it clear that if their act of censorship was reported in the media, the pilot would be withdrawn.
Hillel, the actor at the center of the storm, said that he respects the sensitivities of different groups, but he thinks that the violent silencing of content has no place in Israel in 2016.
The festival management replied, "Following the request of residents, we asked the creator to remove the poster. The pilot will be shown as scheduled."