(Diaa Hadid’s article appeared in The New York Times, 6/13; via Pam Green.)

HAIFA, Israel — The play had been staged many times for Arabic-speaking audiences in Israel without controversy. But a performance with Hebrew subtitles for a wider audience was all it took to touch off a major furor.

The play, “Parallel Time,” explores the personal details of prison life for a Palestinian man convicted of killing an Israeli soldier. Though it is fictional, the story closely resembles a real case that has inspired strong emotions in Israeli society.

The family of the murdered Israeli soldier protested outside Al-Midan Theater in Haifa, which produced the show. The city of Haifa froze the theater’s financing and began an investigation into its activities. The Culture Ministry, which established the theater in 1994, opened its own inquiry. The Education Ministry retracted the play’s eligibility for subsidized performances for students.

“The citizens of Israel will not pay out of their pockets for plays that accept the murders of soldiers,” said Naftali Bennett, the education minister, who leads the hawkish Jewish Home party.


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