Controversial Play 'Seven Jewish Children' to Go on Stage in Tel Aviv

Caryl Churchill's 'Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza' raised a furor when it was staged in London.

A controversial play, "Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza," written after Israel's Operation Cast Lead by British writer Caryl Churchill, will be staged for the first time in Israel in Tel Aviv's Kikar Rabin this evening, as part of Hebrew Book Week events. It is directed online via Skype and video by Samieh Jabbarin, who has been under house arrest for four months.

Jabbarin, a Jaffa resident and director at the city's Arab-Hebrew Theater, was placed under arrest in his parents' Umm al-Fahm home after demonstrating against the appointment of radical right activist Baruch Marzel as monitor of the town's polling station in the January elections.

Jabbarin says he is "a political prisoner" and his arrest is persecution due to his activism. He says he chose this play, whose production was initiated by the Coalition of Women for Peace as part of the campaign against the siege on Gaza, "because it's one of the few international plays that deal with the conflict in a courageous way both artistically and intellectually and enables us to tell the Palestinians' story through a Jewish perspective."

The play raised a furor when it was staged in February in London's Royal Court Theater, especially following the BBC radio's refusal to broadcast it. It has also been staged in New York and other cities in the United States. The BBC argued that as a body covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it did not want to take a stand.

The play is written as a series of tips and recommendations of adults debating how to tell children in seven different eras about what is going on around them. No children appear in the play. The Women's Coalition says Churchill gave them the rights to the play free of charge, on condition the money raised goes to an organization that supports Palestinians who were injured in the operation.

The play was translated into Hebrew by Shimon Levy and Or Shani.