100 bereaved families decry film about terror-supporting lawyer

Families of terror victims send letter to Culture Minister Miri Regev over award for film decrying award for film about controversial lawyer

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Attorney Lea Tsemel
Attorney Lea Tsemel
Flash 90

100 bereaved families sent a letter today (Monday) to Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) demanding that she cancel a prize set to be awarded at the Docaviv International Film Festival to a film positively portraying controversial attorney Lea Tsemel.

The film, "Advocate," tells the life story of Tsemel, who has gained notoriety for her persistent defense of terrorists with blood on their hands, including Abdel Aziz Salha, who took part in the 2000 lynching of two IDF soldiers in Ramallah and was pictured in the infamous photograph waving his blood-soaked hands after the lynching.

Tsemel has also defended dozens of Hamas terrorists, former MK Basel Ghattas who was convicted of smuggling cell phones to jailed terrorists, and most recently, the family of the terrorist who murdered and raped 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher.

The international film festival is held every year in Tel-Aviv and is sponsored in part by the Ministry of Culture.

The award includes a 70,000 NIS cash prize and an additional 150,000 NIS to promote the film as the Israeli candidate for the prestigious Academy Awards.

"For the past five decades, Tsemel has been defending terrorists who've murdered a large number of Israelis, including many of our children, wives, husbands, siblings, and other relatives," read the letter penned by the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families.

"The funding of this prize is a spit in the faces of bereaved families. It is shocking and horrifying that such a film could represent Israel in the Oscars."

In response to the letter, Culture Minister Miri Regev criticized the award but did not address the request of the families to cancel it.

"It is outrageous and irritating to have a film centered around Lea Tsemel, an attorney who represents, supports, and speaks in the name of many who aim to undermine the very existence of the State of Israel. These individuals inflict terror on our soldiers and citizens and then enjoy the legal and public protection of Tsemel," said Regev.

Regev added: "A film that depicts her actions in a positive light is outrageous and condemnable and should not leave any Israeli citizen who cares about the future of the state indifferent."

Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu that accompanies and assists the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families, said: "Tsemel is not an innocent attorney who protects innocent people, as depicted in the film. She is someone who protects night and day the animals who murdered innocent people, including the elderly, women, and children."

"We are joining the call of the bereaved families to cancel the prize. Such despicableness should be condemned and not awarded with a prize at the expense of the state."