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On Monday night a three-judge panel at Israel's High Court ruled that the right to freedom of expression is superseded by the public's right to health, but did not impose a fine.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.
Malaysia Airlines plane crash exposes alarming flaw in airline security: over one billion flights made last year without stolen-passport check
Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote in North Korean elections
Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Oil slicks in South China Sea ‘not from missing jet’, officials say
Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him
- 5 Steve Irwin’s final words: Cameraman present at death opens up about deadly stingray attack for the first time
£3360 - £16800 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Cover Supervisor requ...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Male and Female PE te...
£130 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Do you have a qualificatio...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: The school is much la...