Lebanon bans ‘Wonder Woman’ because of Israeli actress

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The superhero film “Wonder Woman,” which is scheduled to be released in most of the world this week, has been banned in Lebanon because lead actress Gal Gadot is from Israel, officials said on Wednesday.

A source in the interior ministry told Reuters that an order had been issued to ban the screening of “Wonder Woman,” and movie theater chain Grand Cinemas confirmed that the movie had been banned, ending days of conflicting reports.

The confirmation came just hours before “Wonder Woman” was set to premiere in Lebanon, although a number of private showings had already taken place. The release of the movie had been advertised with a number of billboards in Beirut and other cities.

Israel and Lebanon consider each other enemies and Gal Gadot in particular has faced calls for boycotts in the past, in part because she served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for 2 years. The Ministry of Economy and Trade has called for all of Gadot’s movies and shows to be banned in the country.

“For this purpose, the Ministry of Economy and Trade indicates that it proceeded to take the necessary actions to ban the showing of Wonder Woman movie where it appears the Israeli actress,” the ministry said in a statement. It added that it had asked security forces to enforce the ban.

A source in Lebanon’s General Security Directorate told the Daily Star newspaper on late Wednesday that “Wonder Woman” screenings were banned, indicating that the ministry’s request to enforce the ban had been approved.

Israel and Lebanon consider each other enemies and a United Nations peacekeeping force is deployed along their border. The force was created in 1978 after Israeli forces invaded Lebanon in response to the Coastal Road bus massacre, which was claimed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The brief invasion, which left thousands of people killed, led to the creation of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon to confirm Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, restore peace, and to assist the Lebanese government in restoring effective authority in the area.

Decades later, in 2006, Israel fought a month-long war with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, killing more than 1,200 people, most of them civilians. Another 160 people, most of them soldiers, were killed on the Israeli side. It ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire.

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