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Tel Aviv ‘Iran Embassy’ sign revealed as PR stunt for new film

‘Atomic Falafel’ tells story of Israeli and Iranian girls working together to prevent nuclear destruction

A Tel Aviv banner advertising the opening of an Iranian embassy, which was later revealed as a PR ploy for upcoming movie "Atomic Falafel." (Simona Weinglass/Times of israel)
A Tel Aviv banner advertising the opening of an Iranian embassy, which was later revealed as a PR ploy for upcoming movie "Atomic Falafel." (Simona Weinglass/Times of israel)

A Tel Aviv sign announcing the opening of an “Iranian embassy,” which raised wide speculation, was revealed Thursday to be part of an advertising campaign for an upcoming film.

The movie, “Atomic Falafel,” is directed by Dror Shaul, who was behind the Israeli cult hit “Operation Grandma,” and opens in Israeli cinemas on September 10. It tells the tale of an Israeli and an Iranian girl who work together via social media to prevent a nuclear war.

The banner, which appeared in recent days opposite Rabin Square, reads, “The Iranian embassy in Israel will open here soon,” and was accompanied by the Israeli and Iranian flags and a phone number with a Tel Aviv area code.

Initially, passersby who called the phone number heard an English recording telling them to leave a message for the Iranian embassy.

Following the Thursday announcement, the message was changed to one in heavily Persian-accented Hebrew, claiming to be the voice of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

'Atomic Falafel' movie poster (courtesy)
‘Atomic Falafel’ movie poster (courtesy)

“Soon we will blow you up and there won’t be an Israel at all, but if you already called, don’t be angry or annoyed, just write down a reminder that there is a new movie, ‘Atomic Falafel,'” the would-be humorous message says.

Callers are instructed to press buttons depending on how many free movie tickets they want. The call is dropped, however, if the caller follows the instructions.

Cast members include Shai Avivi, from Israeli sketch-comedy show “Hahamisha Hakamerit,” model and actress Mali Levi, and Yossi Marshak from “Don’t Mess With the Zohan.”

German “Inglourious Basterds” actor Alexander Fehling also appears in the film, which is co-produced by companies from New Zealand and Germany.

Israel’s United Channels Movies president Avraham Pirchi called the film a “crazy, sarcastic satirical comedy making fun of an ultra military mindset,” according to Variety.

A nuclear agreement signed last month between Iran and six world powers makes the movie extremely timely, he said.

“When we started to make ’Atomic Falafel,’ we didn’t know we would be releasing the film when Iran’s nuclear power would be so relevant. But that’s what’s happened,” said Pirchi, adding that the film is “pro-peace, and optimistic.”

Shaul said that the movie emphasizes the similarities of youths from different countries. “Teenagers around the world today are much more similar than different to each other. They dress the same, listen to the same music and are not really interested in wars,” he said.

“I hope that the sane, logical side of Israel and the world will overcome the irresponsible one, and that my little boy, born just two weeks after the end of shooting, will be rewarded with a safe future,” Shaul added.

UCM is in talks with an international agents in hopes of distributing the movie to audiences across the world.

A subtitled trailer for the film “Atomic Falafel” was released earlier this month.

Sara Miller and Simona Weinglass contributed to this report.

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