Israeli bishop protests play based on story in Genesis

Assal was among an audience of 800 Anglican bishops from around the world who had gathered in London for the church's once-in-a-decade Lambeth Conference.

The play was based on the account in Genesis of Jacob's struggle with an angel, which resulted in God renaming him Israel. What riled Assal was the depiction of a scene from Ezekiel where two sticks, representing the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah, were joined together with references to Judea and Samaria.

"The least I can say about this is that I was greatly disturbed," Assal said later. "If it was done intentionally, it was a catastrophe. Judah in political terms stands for the West Bank, the occupied West Bank."

He said the producers should have been "more sensitive to the way people understand the presentation. We Palestinians have learned the art of burying our dead and starting again."

Assal withdrew his threat to return home when the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, offered him an apology and prayed with him to calm him down.