A Jewish Defense Minister with an Arab Heart

19 May 2016

Last week, the New Israel Fund organized a special showing of the successful new play “Angina Pectoris” in Tel Aviv. The play tells the story of a sick Israeli Defense Minister who is willing to violate his own law forbidding Jews form accepting organ transplants from non-Jews, and to cover up his own “wrongdoing,” must pay off the settler movement by funding illegal West Bank outposts.

The play’s writer, Michal Aharoni, explained its tortuous route to the stage: “The play was written three years ago in reaction to a bunch of anti-democratic bills presented at the time to the Knesset by the government coalition.” It was then staged in English at the ShPiel-Performing Identity Theater in Chicago, which is dedicated to the portrayal of Jewish stage characters. The repertory theaters in Israel, however, rejected it.

“After all the repertory theaters refused to produce it,” Aharoni continued, “I started fundraising on Headstart and at the same time sent the play to the manager of the Tzavta Theater, Haimon Goldberg. He decided to produce the show and showed the text to Dov Glickman [who plays the Defense Minister], who got excited and the cast was put together around him.

Municipalities all over Israel even booked performances, including Nes Tziona, Ra’anana, and Arad. The crowd at the NIF performance was rolling with laughter, and lapped up the play’s sharp and incisive language. Following the performance, there was a discussion with the playwright Michal Aharoni and the lead actor Dov Glickman.