At a time when a 16-year-old girl is murdered during a Pride
March, the entire Ethiopian community is considered suspect from the get-go of
committing crimes, and the Arabs surge to the ballot boxes en masse, comes a
theater production that attempts to shake the future generation of Israeli
society into looking racism in the eye.
The creators of the play – Alma Weich Hoshen and Noga Elkin Efrat, with
the participation of the Coalition against Racism - will unveil the play for
the first time on September 23, 2016 at the Tmu-na Theater in Tel-Aviv.
The purpose of the project, “Your Neighbor Like Yourself,”
is education for tolerance and for acceptance of the other in an experiential
and cognitive manner, by means of a play that will be performed for young
people. This educational-theatrical
project will serve as a tool to increase awareness about racism and will
challenge viewers to examine their positions in relation to the racist events
that are depicted before them. In the
beginning, the play will be presented to youth of junior high and high school
age throughout the country, though in the future likely it will be ed up to
The text of the play is constructed like a collage of
information segments, internet posts, skits, speeches, and monologues that were
written on the basis of news stories.
The framework of the play is a lesson about the Human Rights charter of
the United Nations.
The play s with a set of short and chopped-up
testimonies concerning crimes of violence and racist phenomena in Israel and in
the world. Right after this, the lesson
begins with a reading of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” which was
first published in 1948. The various
stories on the subject interrupt the lesson.
This violent reality takes over the lesson. The stories reflect the social sphere that we
live in: expressions of suspicion and hatred between Jews and Arabs, Ashkenazim
and Mizrahim, the attitude towards work migrants, to Ethiopian immigrants, to
Russian speakers, etc. Alongside them
are interwoven expressions of Anti-Semitism in Europe, remembrances from the
Holocaust, youth delegations to Poland, and sections of Nazi propaganda.
So, for example, we hear the story of a French Jew who was
kidnapped by masked Arabs in Paris and was forced to draw a swastika on himself
and the story of Mohammed, an Arab student who worked in a hotel in Jerusalem,
who was kidnapped by a Jewish family from Afula that accused him of not
cleaning their room.
The various stories in the play are interwoven with humorous
sections that show our prejudices in a ridiculous light, for example, two women
who are deliberating who is the best cleaning lady: the Thai woman, the
Philippina, the Arab woman, the kibbutznik or the student.
With the help of this play, young people will be able to
gain practical tools to deal with instances of hatred and racism towards the
other and to develop critical thinking about them. At the end of the event, there will be a
discussion with the students whose purpose is to work on the content that was
presented, to develop awareness of the price of prejudice and hatred of the
other, and to strengthen tolerance and empathy towards those who are different.
Independent theatre producers Alma Weich Hoshen and Noga
Elkin Efrat lead the project, with the participation of the Coalition against
Racism. Among other things, the two
produced “Price Tag,” a play about the boundaries of democracy, which won
prizes at the 2013 Akko Festival. The
two jointly teach and organize
the theatre course of
study at Ben Zvi High School in Kiryat Ono.