Israeli theater cancels play about West Bank soldiers

i24NEWS

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An Israeli soldier points his weapon at a Palestinian man during a protest, in the West Bank city of Hebron, on April 22, 2022.
Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90An Israeli soldier points his weapon at a Palestinian man during a protest, in the West Bank city of Hebron, on April 22, 2022.

'A place where artists are silenced is a place that is not appropriate for plays or audiences'

A theater in southern Israel on Thursday canceled a play that features testimonies by female Israeli soldiers serving in the West Bank, after a right-wing group protested it for promoting “hate and incitement.”

The B’Tsalmo NGO pressured Beer Sheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich to nix “Basic Instinct” after learning that it was based on claims given to Breaking the Silence – a group of ex-Israeli soldiers opposing Israel’s presence in the Palestinian territories.

Ahead of the opening performance at the Fringe Theater, the creator and director of the play, Yael Tal, said she got a call from the theater’s manager "with a long list of vague reasons for canceling the play.”

She added on Facebook that the theater’s artistic director told her that he scrapped the play because the noise surrounding it was “not positive.”

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B’Tsalmo chairman Shai Glick sent a letter to Danilovich in protest: "The play is based on 'testimonies' in which Breaking the Silence slanders and attacks IDF soldiers, Israel's citizens, and the state of Israel," Glick wrote, Haaretz reported.

"We all know the truth — Breaking the Silence is a marginal group that mostly lies and is connected to the global [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement against Israel. There is no place for public and municipal funding for plays that exude hate and incitement," he added.

The decision to scrap the play drew condemnation from groups like the Israeli Actors Guild, and the Directors Guild said it would boycott the Fringe Theater. 

"A place where artists are silenced is a place that is not appropriate for plays or audiences," the Directors Guild said on its Facebook.

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