Arab airlines’ next in-flight movie: Jews during the Inquisition

Multiple Arab airlines pick up the rights for film about the oppression of Jews in Portuguese city during the Inquisition.

By World Israel News Staff

A number of airlines from Arabic-speaking countries are set to screen a film highlighting the plight of Jews during the Inquisition, The Jerusalem Post reported this week.

The film in question, titled “1618”, was produced by Lighthouse Films in conjunction with the Jewish community of Porto, Portugal, and is based on the true story of efforts by inquisitors in the year 1618 to persecute the city’s remaining Jewish community.

The airlines that have purchased the rights to the film are based both in countries with formal diplomatic ties to Israel, like Egyptair, and those hostile to the Jewish state, including Syrian Airlines and Middle East Airlines, a Lebanon-based company.

Qatar Airways, Iraqi Airways, and Kuwait Airways have also purchased rights to the film.

The deal for airing the film as an in-flight movie was cut between the airlines and the Jewish community of Porto.

During the events highlighted in the film, a new inquisitor dispatched by the Church to Porto jailed over 100 Jews who had nominally converted to Christianity following the 1497 decree expelling the Jewish community from Portugal and mandating conversion for those who remained.

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The film centers on the panic stirred among the nominally Christian Jews living in Porto and the impact on these so-called “New Christians” of life in a country where Judaism had been forbidden.

The president of the Jewish community of Porto, Gabriel Senderowicz, lauded the decision by Arab airlines to screen the film.

“We are very excited about the screening agreement with the Arab airlines. The film ‘1618’ tells a historical story in a moving and empathetic way, allowing viewers to go back 400 years for a short while and try to feel what life was like in those days, especially for the Jews of Porto who were persecuted for no fault of their own.”

First screened in 2021, the film won accolades from multiple film festivals, including the Best Director and Best Historical Feature awards from the 2021 New York International Film Festival, and the Best Feature Film award from the 2021 Barcelona Independent Film Festival.

The film’s formal release is slated for release in September at a festival in Porto.