Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Regev in Kiryat Arba
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

Israel's national theatre performs in West Bank for first time

Despite calls for Habima to refrain from so doing, it brought the play A Simple Story to Kiryat Arba, which was attended by Culture Minister Miri Regev.

The play A Simple Story was performed for the first time at the Kiryat Arba community center by Israel's national theatre Habima on Thursday evening just outside of Hebron.



This first-time performance by Habima in the West Bank drew public criticism last month when it was announced, with fans and left-wing organizations calling for the theatre to cancel the performance.


Before Thursday's performance, Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev addressed these protests to the audience, saying "It won't help them. There will be more performances in Kiryat Arba, Bethel, Elkana and Ariel."


Miri Regev in Kiryat Arba Thursday (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg) (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Miri Regev in Kiryat Arba Thursday (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


Of the cast, only the actor Shlomi Bertenov refused to perform for ideological reasons. He was replaced by Shachar Raz.


Regev also said, "I'm happy that tonight we'll see here on the stage in Kiryat Arba actors who didn't give in to pressure from the organization Breaking the Silence, which tried until the last minute to prevent them from performing. I'm ashamed every time anew to see how human rights organizations crudely trample the rights of the residents of Judea and Samaria."


She addressed the name of the play, saying, " When Habima, the national theatre of the State of Israel, supported by the government of Israeli, comes to perform here in the city of the patriarchs, it's 'a simple story.'"


Earlier, the actress Yevgenia Dodina toured the city of Hebron with members Breaking the Silence. They visited, inter alia, Shuhada Street and Tel Rumeida. They there encountered right-wing activists Noam Arnon and Itamar Ben Gvir, who told the actress that the fact that she was visiting with representatives of Breaking the Silence constituted taking a side in the conflict.


Dr. Chaim Weiss, one of the leaders of the fight to prevent the theatre's performance in the West Bank, said at the time to Ynet, "The problem isn't with the Israeli citizens, of course; the problem is with the location. It's occupied territory. We don't run cultural life in occupied territory. We also mustn't hold cities in occupied territory."


At the time, Habima's management commented, "The theater's management rejects in disgust any call to exclude citizens and exclude towns, and condemns any attempt to culturally boycott any place where Israeli citizens live. The Habima Theatre is the national theater of the state of Israel. As such, it will continue to provide artistic content and provide quality culture for all Israeli citizens.


פרסום ראשון: 11.12.16, 19:07
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