The bereaved families.
The bereaved families.Credit: Im Tirtzu

Bereaved families demonstrated at the Mifal Hapyis House on Sunday against the awarding of the best film award to a documentary on far-left lawyer Leah Tsemel, an anti-Zionist lawyer who spent 40 years defending Palestinian Arabs accused of violence against Israel, including suicide bombers.

The film, which presents the story of Tsemel's life, won a NIS 150,000 prize from the Israel Lottery Council for Culture and Art.

The bereaved families demanded that Mifal Hapayis Chairman Avigdor Yitzhaki immediately cancel the granting of the prize money to the filmmakers, claiming that he was scorning the memory of the murdered.

The protest was attended by bereaved families from the Im Tirtzu movement's "Choosing Life" forum. Among the participants: Herzl and Meirav Hajaj - parents of the late Lt. Shir, who was murdered in the attack at Armon Hanatziv, Shimon Golbenzitz - father of the late Lieutenant David who fell in operational activity in Hebron, Hadas Mizrahi - widow of Colonel Baruch, who was murdered on Passover eve on the way to Kiryat Arba, and Vladimir Lubarsky, the father of the Duvdevan soldier Ronen, who was killed in an operation a year and a half ago, and Devora Gonen, the mother of Danny, who was murdered in a terrorist attack near the settlement of Dolev.

The families poured out buckets of red paint at Mifal Hapayis to symbolize the blood of the murdered and illustrate the insensitivity in awarding the film a prize and financial grant.

Shir's parents, Herzl and Meirav Hajaj said, "We came to express our anger and pain at the awarding of a prize for a film that glorifies the work of attorney Tsemel in defending terrorists - those who killed our loved ones. The terrorist who murdered Uri Ansbacher and the terrorists who lynched the soldiers in Ramallah and others are among the miserable murderers who attorney Tsemel defended."

"Is this really the film among all the Israeli films that's worthy of encouragement in the form of NIS 150,000? The members of the committee who chose the film didn't see the rivers of blood spilled by attorney Tsemel's clients? This award is an expression of insensitivity and irresponsibility to Israeli society."