ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 139

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Ben Gvir bans Arab ‘Fauda’ star from event, citing 2015 remarks

National security minister says Hisham Suliman can’t appear at anti-drug conference for Arab municipalities, because comments he made ‘give legitimacy to attacks on IDF’

Arab Israeli actor Hisham Suliman seen during the final of the VIP season, of the Big Brother reality show at Neve Ilan studio outside Jerusalem, March 2, 2019. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)


 *** Local Caption *** האח הגדול
ריאלטי
גמר
הישאם סלימאן
שחקן
Arab Israeli actor Hisham Suliman seen during the final of the VIP season, of the Big Brother reality show at Neve Ilan studio outside Jerusalem, March 2, 2019. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90) *** Local Caption *** האח הגדול ריאלטי גמר הישאם סלימאן שחקן

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir on Tuesday canceled the appearance of an Arab Israeli actor who starred in the hit TV series “Fauda” at an anti-drug event due to remarks he made in the past that the far-right minister said amount to backing attacks on IDF soldiers.

Hisham Suliman was set to appear at a conference of Arab municipalities in the north organized by the Israel National Authority for Community Safety, which is under Ben Gvir’s ministry.

In an interview with the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper in 2015, Suliman was asked what he thinks about the kind of Palestinian terrorist that he depicts in “Fauda” and responded that Palestinians in the West Bank “have the right to fight against the occupation.”

“I don’t accept their way and don’t see it as heroism, but they have the right to fight,” he said at the time. “I seek peace and do not justify harming civilians. But a soldier who is in the West Bank and someone attacks him — I don’t think it’s terrorism.

“If he is in the West Bank and fights the Palestinians and abuses them, he implements the occupation. He shouldn’t be there.”

Ben Gvir said in a statement that “those who legitimize harming IDF soldiers and are not loyal to the State of Israel cannot in any way receive payment from the State of Israel and appear at the events of the National Security Ministry. Not on my watch.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a press conference at the Knesset on July 5, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

It is not the first time that Suliman was pulled from an event over his remarks. In February 2022, then-education minister Yifat Shasha Biton canceled his appearance at a ministry conference because of the same comments.

“Fauda,” or “chaos” in Arabic, saw Suliman portray Abu Ahmad, a Hamas terrorist being pursued by an Israeli undercover unit. Suliman’s character is behind a series of suicide attacks that kill more than 100 Israelis.

The show has captivated viewers by showing the more human aspects of characters often portrayed in black and white, while at the same time keeping them on edge with tense storylines.

AFP contributed to this report.

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