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Director-General deplores murder of Israeli actor Juliano Mer-Khamis


The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today expressed her sorrow over the death of actor Juliano Mer-Khamis, who was shot dead on 4 April at Jenin, in the West Bank. Juliano Mer-Khamis was also director of The Freedom Theatre, which is supported by UNESCO’s office in Ramallah (Occupied Palestinian Territory).

“It is with great sadness that I learned of the murder of the Israeli actor, Juliano Mer-Khamis,” said Irina Bokova. “He was a prominent figure in the cultural world of the Middle East. He was also a socially committed artist and an ardent defender of peaceful cohabitation between Israelis and Palestinians. His death leaves an immense vacuum. UNESCO, as a partner of the Freedom Theatre that he directed, and supporter of his tireless efforts to promote theatre among young Palestinians, deplores the assassination of this man of peace.”

Juliano Mer-Khamis, aged 52, was shot in his car on 4 April by masked gunmen in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

As an actor, Juliano Mer-Khamis – whose mother was Israeli and whose father was Palestinian - appeared in a number of films, notably Kippur, directed by Amos Gitai. The Freedom Theatre, originally founded by his mother, Arna Mer, is a unique Palestinian cultural institution and an exemplary model for an entire generation of artists.

UNESCO supports the dramatic arts as a means to strengthen the rapprochement and promote dialogue between cultures, and is determined to continue to its backing for the Freedom Theatre - for its creativity, openness and tolerance, and to honour the memory of Juliano Mer-Khamis.


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