January 01, 2003 10:13am
Israeli Arab Porn Video Inflames Community Passions
by: Company Press Release
(TIRA, ISRAEL) -- "Fatima" saunters into the store, murmuring "Shalom." At the counter, "Yussuf" eyes her appreciatively and returns the Hebrew greeting. Cue music. The couple embrace, lapsing naturally into their native Arabic.
Were it not for the hardcore sex that comes next, it might have passed for another Israeli high school video on language education.
Instead, the bilingual film billed as "The first Israeli-Arab porno" has inflamed the Jewish state's Muslim minority, drawing charges of sacrilege and a vigilante death sentence on "Fatima" issued by her own hometown and family.
Amal Kashua, a 38-year-old mother of eight, was set upon by a mob last week in Tira, a prosperous Arab community in central Israel. "Yussuf," a Palestinian known only as Amir, was beaten too. They went to hospital under police guard, then into hiding.
Shamed by association, Kashua's relatives disowned her.
Tira residents were divided over whether Kashua and Amir were married or merely lovers, and rumors put the money they had made in November for their hour-long on-camera coupling at anything from 700 shekels ($148) to 30 times as much.
But none disputed that the stars of "Yussuf and Fatima" had brought the near-lynching in Tira square upon themselves.
"The whole town is satisfied and dissatisfied at once," said local man Fathi Sultan. "Satisfied at what happened, because we tried to protect our honor, but on the other hand dissatisfied because she (Kashua) didn't die, nor her husband."
From her hospital bed in Kfar Saba, a mainly Jewish city nearby, Kashua pleaded hunger as the cause of her "heresy."
"I didn't want to insult Islam. I just wanted to make some money," she told reporters, her face cut and arm set in a fresh cast. "I was addicted to drugs and needed cash to feed my kids.
"Plenty of others are worse than me," she said. "The fact is that a lot of people in Tira saw that movie."
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