On 17 April 2015, in honour of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, A Parallel Time was performed with Hebrew translation the first time at the Palestinian-Arab Al-Midan Theatre. The play, created by Bashar Murkus, was inspired by the personal story and writings of Walid Daka, a Palestinian citizen of Israel convicted for aiding in the murder of soldier Moshe Tamam. On the night of the performance, niece of the deceased soldier Ortal Tamam led a demonstration against the play, claiming it glorified terrorists. News quickly spread to the press and social media, inciting what ultimately became a ‘big scandal’. Using a wide range of sources, this article reconstructs the scandal of A Parallel Time and demonstrates its bipolar dynamic. At one pole is a play produced by a state-supported theatre about the life of ‘security prisoners’, and at the other are protest performances that embodied bereavement discourse in Israel, the public support they received from politicians and rallies for freedom of expression. The scandal managed to transform a small play by a theatre unknown among Jewish Israelis into a public, multi-player drama. This drama also included bureaucratic and judicial performances that legally validated the ‘symbolic crusade’ against Palestinian theatre, and exposed the weaknesses of Israeli democracy. This article will propose that this type of big scandal, which culminated in the shutdown of a theatre, is in fact an interruption—and will work to unveil its components and the dynamics of delegitimization that characterized it.
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