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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Natalie Portman at the Kotel

The Jerusalem Post reports that Natalie Portman (aka Natalie Hershlag) was embracing and kissing Israeli actor Aki Avni at the Kotel for a new film that they're shooting.

Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jewish worshippers angrily confronted actress Natalie Portman and her co-star, objecting to scenes of the couple kissing during the filming of a movie scene beside Jerusalem's Western Wall, police said.

The incident Tuesday evening underlined the sensitivity of the site, a remnant of the biblical Jewish temples, the holiest place where Jews can pray.

The site is controlled by strictly observant Jews. Male and female worshippers are separated by a barrier perpendicular to the wall, following Orthodox Jewish rules forbidding casual contact between the sexes.

Police said they had to step in when worshippers spotted Portman and Israeli actor Aki Avni embracing and kissing as part of a scene in their film, "Free Zone." The daily Yediot Ahronot said ultra-Orthodox Jews charged the actors, shouting ,"Immoral, immoral!"

Police said they asked the actors to leave and return later, and they agreed.

The rabbi in charge of the site, Shmuel Rabinovitch, said that codes of conduct under religious and state law prohibit acting or romantic interaction near the wall. "That code was not followed," he said.

The Israeli-born Portman has been studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in recent months.

My questions:
  1. Don't these film directors have researchers that would have told them in advance that such an incident was likely? (I see Miriam asked the same question)
  2. Why are some bloggers more concerned about the reaction of the Hareidim than the obvious stupidity of filming Peritzut at the Mekom Hamikdash? I don't condone what was done (if the reports are accurate) because Deracheha Darchei No'am, but this incident should never have occurred in the first place.
  3. Why did the police say to come back later? When? When there are only people saying Tikkun Hatzot?
  4. What's a nice Jewish girl doing in a film like this?


At Thu Feb 24, 04:55:00 PM 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To respond to question 2: By defintion, observant Jews aspire to a code of behaviour that actually precludes this sort of response. Ms. Portman is not expected to know any better

At Thu Feb 24, 05:10:00 PM 2005, Blogger yaak said...

Yes, but her director is. Refer to Question 1.

At Thu Feb 24, 10:24:00 PM 2005, Blogger Jack Steiner said...

It doesn't excuse their behavior, it was just wrong.


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