Ariel in the West Bank
West Bank city of Ariel. Photo by Tal Cohen
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The Haaretz's Wednesday report that major Israeli theaters will travel across the Green Line for the first time to perform at a new theater at Ariel has sparked some stormy reactions: Two actors from the national theater, Habima, Yousef Sweid and Rami Heuberger, have already announced that they will not appear in any plays in Ariel.

Sweid, who is currently appearing in "A Railway to Damascus" at Habima, told a Channel 1 television talk show yesterday that "I would be glad to perform in settlements in several shows that have messages I'd like to deliver in many communities. But settlers and settlements are not something that entertains me, and I don't want to entertain them."

No plays

No plays that Heuberger acts in are currently slated to be performed in Ariel, but he said that "if I am asked, I believe I would have a problem with performing there. As a stage actor it is a very, very problematic issue, and I think that so long as settlements are a controversial issue that will be discussed in any negotiations [with the Palestinians], I should not be there."

Shaul Goldstein, a leading settler and head of the Gush Etzion local council, retorted, "we don't need them. The nation of Israel is much stronger than such boycotts."