Israeli actors protest closing of Palestinian theater by colonial, apartheid government
July 1, 2013

Puppeteers from the Israeli version of Sesame Street protested Monday against Israel’s closure of a Palestinian children’s puppet festival, arguing that puppet theater poses no threat to Israeli security.

Ariel Doron, the voice of Elmo on the Israeli version of the popular children’s television show, and Yousef Sweid, who plays an Arab Muppet on the show, created a Facebook page named Puppets4All calling on Israel to permit the festival. Two other Israeli Sesame Street puppeteers, along with a number of fellow Israeli actors, uploaded photos to the Facebook group holding puppets and signs protesting the closure.

"I think every boy and girl deserves to see puppet theater," said Doron. "There is no sense to this."

He said Monday his initiative was private and not coordinated with Sesame Street. Miri Yanai Meir of Israel’s Sesame Street said the show had nothing to do with the puppeteers’ initiative.

Israel’s Ministry of Public Security last week ordered the closure of the Hakawati Theater, the Palestinian national theater in east Jerusalem, canceling a children’s festival set to feature puppet shows and plays. Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said organizers of the theater illegally received funds from the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank.

Israel prohibits Palestinian government activity in Israeli-controlled east Jerusalem, which Palestinians seek as the capital of a future state. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the eastern section of the city seized in the 1967 Mideast war.

Sesame Street, while steering clear of politics, has promoted messages of peace and tolerance in local versions of the show on Israeli and Palestinian television. Sesame Workshop, the American producer of the children’s television show, re-launched the local programs in 2007 after the original versions went off the air due to lack of funding.

The new Israeli version of “Rechov Sumsum” includes a Muppet of Arab origin, as well as characters representing Israel’s diverse Jewish immigrant population.

"Sharaa Simsim," the Palestinian counterpart, has sought to offer positive role models to Palestinian children. The show went off the air last year after the U.S. government cut funding, one of many Palestinian programs affected by a funding suspension aimed at punishing the Palestinians for a unilateral appeal to the U.N. for statehood.

Layla Sayegh of the Sharaa Simsim staff said the show will resume on Palestinian TV this fall with financing from Sesame Workshop and a local source. The U.S. will not resume funding for the program, Sayegh said.


  1. jestershark reblogged this from ibibobo
  2. jakeberensonisbroken reblogged this from nightrevelations
  3. tryingtosay reblogged this from pardonm3
  4. pardonm3 reblogged this from meatsuit
  5. meatsuit reblogged this from dakotacityukuleleorchestra
  6. mad-john reblogged this from somepalestiniankid
  7. visirion reblogged this from somepalestiniankid
  8. christycorr reblogged this from nightrevelations
  9. tignar reblogged this from ipayrenttothedunya
  10. mickeymousehasgrownupaclown reblogged this from randomactsofchaos
  11. cluminary reblogged this from sunbittern
  12. kibibyte reblogged this from daughterofthealchemist
  13. hijabi-tsunami reblogged this from xxxquisitely
  14. tabs-fully reblogged this from ipayrenttothedunya
  15. zoharshu reblogged this from navajomoose
  16. navajomoose reblogged this from somepalestiniankid
  17. activistronnie reblogged this from justryingtoblendin
  18. youdontneedtofollowme reblogged this from warlikeparakeet88
  19. sunbittern reblogged this from ragingbitchfest
  20. paintthispalingtown reblogged this from ragingbitchfest and added:
    ffs they are puppets that teach kids manners and counting and shit
  21. warlikeparakeet88 reblogged this from silas216
  22. thepeoplesrecord posted this