Last correction 11:59 am CST
Haredim Protest Against Natalie Portman
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Look who haredim are protesting now – Queen Amidala.
That’s right. Haredim are protesting Natalie Portman, the Jerusalem-born American-raised iconic actress of Star Wars fame.
Portman reportedly began filming the film adaptation of noted Israeli author Amos Oz's "A Tale of Love and Darkness" in Jerusalem today – and haredim have already begun to whine about it.
The movie is filming in the Nahlaot neighborhood, which 20 years ago was a secular, hippie, Carlebach, haredi amalgam. Today, however, Nachlaot is firmly haredi and even though Portman, who is making her directorial debut with the film, coordinated the shoot with the Jerusalem city government, haredim are still upset.
The city allegedly failed to tell the haredi residents of the neighborhood that Portman would be filming there.
But more importantly to haredi sensibilities, the film is being made near haredi yeshivas and synagogues, which means haredi men and boys may be able to catch a glimpse of Portman and other beautiful actresses.
This prompted haredim to write a letter to city officials complaining about the film and demanding that it be censored.
“The scenes being filmed should have been examined first to make sure they don’t offend anybody’s sensitivities,” haredim reportedly wrote.
Haredim also spray-painted graffiti against the "foreign invasion" of the neighborhood.
Jerusalem deputy mayor Rachel Azaria, a Modern Orthodox woman who has fought against the exclusion of women from billboards and bus ads in the city and who has worked against forced haredi gender segregation of public sidewalks and buses, reportedly said in response to the haredi complaints that while there is constant tension between celebrating Jerusalem's real diversity on one hand and extremist groups attempts to prevent that on the other, Jerusalem’s "appeal, unique architecture and entertainment projects will continue to blossom."
But Jerusalem’s city government did what it has so often done in the past – it appeased haredim by promising them that the actors on Portman’s film will be modestly dressed.
Several years ago, Jerusalem’s secular Mayor Nir Barkat threw Azaria out of his then-coalition when she took the Egged bus company to court over illegal forced gender segregation and exclusion of women, no matter how modesty dressed, from ads in and on its buses.