Postcard from... Jerusalem
Friday 07 December 2012
A few puffs during a Hebrew production of David Mamet's The Old Neighbourhood has extinguished theatrical smoking in Israel for ever.
The country's highest court has banned smoking in theatres – both on and off the stage.
The court case was ignited at the Haifa Theatre in 2010, when Orly Zilbershatz-Banai, one of Israel's most celebrated actresses, lit up while she was playing the character of Jolly, sister of Mamet's protagonist Bobby Gould, who has returned to his boyhood home in Chicago after the collapse of his marriage.
Local lawyer Einav Avrahami was so incensed she filed a suit against the theatre and its owner, the Haifa City Council, arguing that Ms Zilbershatz-Banai's nicotine-stained five-minute monologue violated Israeli legislation which has banned smoking in public buildings since 1983.
A class action suit filed last year in the Haifa District Court sought damages of £175 for each member of the audience – a legal move that, if it were successful, would have bankrupted the theatre.
On Monday night a three-judge panel at Israel's High Court ruled that the right to freedom of expression is superseded by the public's right to health, but did not impose a fine. In 2010, the US Supreme Court declined to review a ruling that banned smoking onstage in Colorado. It is permitted in at least 12 other American states.
Israeli theatre companies say their artistic expression will not be affected by the court ruling: they have switched to electronic cigarettes.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...