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Plot thickens after Israeli court forbids actors to smoke on stage

Published time: December 04, 2012 10:40
Edited time: December 04, 2012 14:40
(AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)

(AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)

Israeli actors won’t be able to smoke on stage during a performance after the country’s Supreme Court has reversed the lower court decision allowing artists to smoke occasionally if it’s written into the play.

­The Haifa court ruled that actors could smoke one cigarette maximum, and only if it was part of the story. However, advocates of the strict ban filed an appeal and won, NEWSru Israel reported.

Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that the ban on smoking in public places applies to theaters just as well.

Commenting on the decision, the Haifa Municipal Theater said it won’t be putting on performances whose characters smoke on stage.

According to the plaintiffs, it’s the first time a ruling like this has been made, saying it’s a victory for all those who care about their health.

In 2009 an enthusiast filed a complaint against a local theatre in Haifa for allowing one of its actors to smoke on stage during the performance.

The incident at the Haifa Municipal Theater Hall was hailed as the “first legal action of its kind” in the world.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the complaint was filed by a lawyer complaining that one of the play’s main characters, famous Israeli actress Orly Zilberschatz-Banai, was smoking like a chimney for about half an hour during the play.

The woman and her colleague then urged the court to set compensation for damages to the theater audience at about $265 each. According to their calculations, the overall compensation could amount to over one million dollars.

Many argued that the stage director didn’t have to make the character a heavy smoker, or at least could have given the actress some nontoxic substitute. But according to the complainant, none of these happened.