Actor Turns 'Conscientious Objector,' Gives Up Anti-IDF Role

Israeli actor Mickey Leon preferred to play the role of a “conscientious objector” rather than a part in UK show that puts the IDF in a bad light.

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Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 11:58

Illustration, photo not related to TV series
Illustration, photo not related to TV series
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israeli actor Mickey Leon preferred to play the role of a “conscientious objector” rather than take a part in a British television series that portrays the IDF in a bad light.

The anti-Israel series, which contains messages similar to those broadcast in a Turkish series that hit the airwaves a few months ago, is called “Palestine.” Shooting is drawing to a close and the show is expected to air shortly, without Leon.

Leon, interviewed by Arutz Sheva, said he rejected a role as an Israeli army captain who was planning to separate a Palestinian Authority Arab girl from her mother in order to use her as a human shield. The part involved the Israeli army captain allowing IDF soldiers to take the girl with them from one end of an Arab village to the other.

The Israeli actor, who in 2008 portrayed Boaz Rein-Buskila in “Waltz with Bashir”, turned down the role despite the professional and monetary benefits it would bring. He added that a number of other actors also rejected the role for the same reason.

“My conscience would not allow me to do it,” he said. “I am not willing to compromise my values. I represent the State [of Israel] and did not want to represent it that way. I know there is no such protocol [in the IDF], and I am not willing to have a British viewer who might see this series, believe that this is how we behave. The first connotation that came into my mind from this scene was that of the Holocaust,” Leon explained.

At the end, he simply decided not to take the part. Those that stayed held a meeting on the set to determine how they would handle the demands of the script, which Leon said he did not find at all surprising. “I did not want to play this role,” he said. “I have an obligation to the state and also to my friends in the army”, he added.

Leon noted that he tried to get the producer to remove the scene. He succeeded only in persuading the producer to remove one line from the script: “That's Israel Defense Forces procedure.”

The producer later told Leon the idea that the IDF uses PA Arab children as human shields came from a Gaza activist who has lived in the region for an number of years. The series itself was filmed entirely in Israel.