The Israel Film Fund on Tuesday decided to suspend funding for a film by an Israeli director that reportedly compares the occupation of the West Bank to the Holocaust.

The decision came as Israeli leaders were heading to Europe on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The film Lipstikka was created by Israeli actor and director Jonathan Sagall to portray his mother's experience in the Holocaust. Sagall, who starred in the popular 1978 Israeli film Eskimo Limon, received funding for the project five years ago and later decided to transport his mother's tale to Ramallah, where instead of the Nazis, two girls struggle against the Israeli occupation.

The controversial treatment first came to light after Israeli columnist Yair Lapid wrote an article in last Friday's Yediot Aharonot in which he quoted a passage from a brochure he had received, advertising Lipstikka:

"It took a lot to convince the Israel Film Fund that the occupation is worse than Israel has ever admitted to and that it is possible to compare the occupation to the Holocaust."

After Lapid's column was published, the IFF announced that it was freezing its support of the film, which had been slated to receive NIS 1.3 million in state funds, NIS 850,000 of which had already been invested in the production.


Israel Radio reported Tuesday that the decision to suspend funding came following a direct request from Minister of Culture and Sports Limor Livnat.

The IFF has also denied any connection to the brochure and its wording. The IFF further said that when it had approved the funding, the script it had received had not presented the same comparisons as those described in the brochure.



An article from last year on Variety.com described the movie as "a psychological thriller about the lifelong emotional and sexual bond between two Palestinian women."



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