Moshe Ivgy, accused by several women of sexual harassment, won the award for best actor at the Haifa Film festival, causing anger in many people who believe the festival’s decision to be inappropriate.

Should an artist’s work be held as separate from the artist themselves? Should a person suspected of harsh offenses be nonetheless treated as a pure entity so long as they have not been convicted? The judging panel at the Haifa Film Festival recently reignited discussion of these questions when it decided to give Moshe Ivgy the award for best actor.

vgy shared the award with his co-star in the film The 90-Minute War, Norman Issa. The film, which is directed by Eyal Halfon and based on a book of the same name by journalist Itay Meirson, tells of a fateful soccer game that will decide the fate of the land of Israel/Palestine: Whoever wins the game stays, and the losers have to leave. Issa and Ivgy play the heads of the Palestinian and Israeli soccer associations, respectively.

Ivgy (left), Issa, and their best actor awards. (Photo: Galit Rosen)
Ivgy (left), Issa, and their best actor awards. (Photo: Galit Rosen)


Following the announcement that the two won the prize, many people on social media, including prominent women in Israeli society, spoke out in criticism over Ivgy’s inclusion. MK Michal Rozin, a former director of the Israeli association of shelters for sexual assault victims, said of the matter, Awarding the prize at this time signals a social message (that says) harming women is forgivable, that you can excuse it as long as it’s an appreciated public figure, a praised artist, or a noble military leader.”

Facing the criticism, the festival’s management squirmed. Pnina Blayer, its artistic director, initially stated that the decision will be reconsidered. A statement from the festival’s management was then released, which read, “The professional panel of judges selects the winners based on acting ability only, as they come about in their performance in the film. The management boards of film festivals all over the world do not interfere with the professional, independent decisions of their judging panels.”

“Ther was no deliberation or discussion about changing the judge panel’s decision. Of course I’m a woman, and I have feelings and opinions, but it’s not my role to give out my private opinion of the matter, since I stand at the head of a public body,” Blayer told newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

As reported by Ynetnews