Israel’s national lottery cancels prize for movie glorifying terrorist-supporting lawyer

Following wide backlash, Israel’s national lottery cancels its award for a film that glorifies an attorney who defends terrorists.

By World Israel News Staff

In response to a sharp wave of public backlash, Israel’s national lottery, Mifal HaPayis, announced on Thursday the cancellation of its NIS 150,000 prize that was set to be awarded to a film positively portraying controversial attorney Lea Tsemel, Zionist organization Im Tirtzu announced in a press release..

Earlier this month, at the DocAviv film festival in Tel-Aviv, Tsemel’s film Advocate, was awarded the prize sponsored by Mifal HaPayis.

Lea Tsemel

Attorney Lea Tsemel arrives at Israel’s Ofer military court near Ramallah, June 25, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The prize sparked wide public outrage, which led thousands of Israelis to cancel their subscriptions to Mifal HaPayis.

Tsemel has gained notoriety for her persistent defense of dozens of terrorists with blood on their hands, including Abdel Aziz Salha, who was pictured in the infamous photograph waving his blood-soaked hands after the lynching of two IDF soldiers in Ramallah in 2000.

According to reports, Tsemel also represents Arafat Irfaiya, who earlier this year murdered and raped 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher.

The protest against the prize began at the beginning of June after the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved families, accompanied by Im Tirtzu, began raising awareness about Tsemel and calling on Mifal HaPayis to cancel the prize, the Zionist organization said in a press release.

Earlier this week, a number of bereaved families from the Choosing Life Forum protested outside the offices of Mifal HaPayis, spilling red paint on the floor and calling the prize “a spit in the faces of bereaved families and of the blood of our children that has been spilled,” Im Tirtzu said.

The families also handed out flyers to passersby and held signs with Tsemel’s quote about the 2000 Ramallah lynching: “What lynch? As if you could really think it was that.”

The protest, which gained coverage on mainstream and social media, sparked a wave of subscription cancellations that has reportedly amounted to a loss of some one million shekels for Mifal HaPayis.

Following the backlash, the directorate of Mifal HaPayis announced that they will be cancelling the prize.