In a world where diversity should be celebrated and honored, it is disheartening to see a city cancel a film screening due to the subject’s sexual orientation. On Thursday, the northern city of Harish had to cancel the screening of “Dear Fredy,” a Holocaust documentary honoring the memory of Alfred Hirsch, a German Jew who saved children in Auschwitz. The reason behind the cancellation, according to the head of Harish’s youth services, was due to opposition from ultra-Orthodox community leaders in the city and a “fuss” within the municipality regarding LGBTQ-focused events.
This kind of censorship sends a harmful message and goes against the principles of equality and inclusiveness. It is not acceptable for a city to cancel an event based on the sexual orientation of the subject, especially when it concerns such a poignant topic as the Holocaust.
The cancellation was met with defiance from Harish residents, who organized their own private screening of the film, attended by more than 60 people. The municipality tried to downplay the cancellation as a lack of demand for the screening, but this was belied by the fact that the event was canceled before the city began publicizing it. Harish Vice Mayor Idit Entov, who attended the screening, confirmed that the decision was made due to the film’s LGBTQ content and opposition from the ultra-Orthodox constituents.
In a city that was initially planned to serve Israel’s ultra-Orthodox population and only recently opened to Israelis of all stripes, this incident highlights the ongoing tensions between the secular and religious residents of Harish. The screening of “Dear Fredy” became the center of controversy and division, detracting from the story of its subject and the message of the film.
In a world that is becoming increasingly divisive, it is crucial to promote diversity and inclusiveness, especially in the arts and media. The cancellation of “Dear Fredy” in Harish serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and the importance of amplifying diverse voices.