Israeli movie fans are waiting anxiously for the tonight's cinema opening of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2," the last of the best-selling "Hunger Games" films about a young woman's rebellion against a tyrannical dystopian regime.
Ahead of the opening, posters featuring the film's female lead Jennifer Lawrence, in the role of Katniss Everdeen, have been hung prominently throughout Israel.
Except for in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, that is. There, the posters only display the fiery crow that forms the background of the poster. The foreground of Jennifer Lawrence with a bow and arrow has been excluded, the ynet website reported.
The movie's Israeli PR firm acknowledged that the poster had been sanitized for the ultra-Orthodox audience.
"We discovered that public posters with the image of a female are often torn down in Jerusalem, while Bnei Brak does not allow posters with female images," a representative of the PR company said, according to ynet.
A struggle over the display of female images in Jerusalem has been going on in recent years. About two years ago, a company doing bus advertising was allowed to go ahead with its campaign after it reached an agreement with the state to cover the costs of the anticipated bus vandalization.
But no agreement exists for posters hung in other public areas.
The Bnei Brak municipality said in a statement that a municipal regulation prevents the hanging of posters of women that might incite the feelings of the city's residents.
The Jerusalem municipality said that it does not limit the appearance of female images in posters and is unconnected to the poster in question.
"It is difficult to estimate the damage that capitulation to extremism does to the Jewish faith," said Uri Regev, head of Hiddush, an NGO that campaigns for religious freedom and equality.
"We need to make clear that there is absolutely no connection between Judaism and censorship of the image of Katniss Everdeen."
Liron Suissa, VP marketing of the company responsible for the posters, Nur Star Media, said that it was not the first time the company had refrained from hanging posters featuring women in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.
"Unfortunately we are subject to unofficial coercion that forces us to be more careful," Suissa said. "We have had endless vandalization, and clients prefer not to take the chance. We allow everything, but we recommend hanging another visual when necessary. The decision is the client's."
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