After the Israeli government cancelled an annual theater festival for Palestinian children, Ariel Doron pulled out his puppet collection in protest.
Sometimes protest comes in the form of puppets.
An Israeli puppeteer from Jaffa published a short video online, featuring four puppets and an inflatable hammer from his collection, calling for viewers to sign a petition to “let Palestinian children enjoy the puppet festival.”
As +972’s Haggai Matar reported, last weekend, “the 19th annual Palestinian children’s theater festival in the East Jerusalem theater of El-Hakwati was due to open,” but was cancelled by the Israeli Public Security Ministry, claiming that festival organizers received funds from the Palestinian Authority.
As Amira Hass reported in Haaretz, according to the Oslo Accords, events sponsored by the PA are illegal within both annexed East Jerusalem and Israel proper. Festival organizers claim they did not receive any funding from the PA.
“Every child has the right to see puppet theater and no one has the right to take that away from them,” said Ariel Doron, the 29-year-old puppeteer who produced the video and initiated an online petition. A petition in Hebrew is also circulating online.
In the two-minute short, filmed on Wednesday in Doron’s backyard, an Israeli Independence Day hammer comes down hard on a flying dove, hungry camel and confused tiger, all while chasing a Palestinian puppet to the theme music from “Jaws.”
At one point, the Palestinian puppet is blindfolded and tied to a tree.
Doron said he and some of his puppeteer friends were angry about the government’s decision to cancel the Palestinian children’s festival, which features puppetry performances, and were trying to think of a way to protest.
“I wanted to do something puppet-y,” he said.
Doron, who studied puppetry at the School of Visual Theater and cinema at Tel Aviv University, said he was glad to have finished the video ahead of two rallies planned for Thursday night, one at 5 p.m. outside the Hakwati theater in East Jerusalem, the other at 7 p.m. in Liberty Bell Park in West Jerusalem.
The puppeteer said he hopes to “let Israel see that they can’t just cancel a puppet festival [for children] without the world responding. It makes absolutely no sense that people who live in one area can see puppets and in another area cannot,” Doron said. “It’s absurd.”
The video calls for viewers to, “Please sign the petition to stop the Israeli government’s cruel and foolish war against puppets.”
In the context of the conflict and occupation, Doron questioned how Israel expects the Palestinians to negotiate peace when Israel doesn’t even allow Palestinians to hold an arts festival for kids.
Explaining his dream, a great Muppet once said, “It’s about singing and dancing and making people happy. That’s the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with.”
What would Kermit the Frog say?