The Passion of the Christ coming to Tel Aviv

jerusalem (jps) | With no distributor purchasing the rights to screen in Israel Mel Gibson’s controversial film “The Passion of Christ,” the Tel Aviv Cinematheque has decided to do it itself.

“We always said we would screen the movie if a distributor brought it here,” said Alon Garbuz, head of the art-house cinema. “Even though there is controversy surrounding the film, the fact of the matter is that we live in a democratic society and those who want to see it should be given the option to do so.”

The film will be screened as part of a special symposium on anti-Semitism and religion, set to take place at the end of the summer.

Garbuz said that because of the controversy surrounding the film, the Cinematheque decided to host such a convention with representatives from the academic, religious, artistic and education milieus of Israel’s Christian and Jewish communities.

“The Passion of the Christ” has brought in $360 million to date since its Feb. 25 release in the United States.

Distribution rights for the film run at about $150,000.

As for his views on giving the film legitimization by showing it, Garbuz said he is only authenticating the fact that it is a movie.

“I’m not saying I agree with what Mel Gibson says. People can judge for themselves and say whatever they want about whatever is said in the movie,” he said.

“At the end of the day it’s a movie. If you don’t like it, fine. But if I want to see it, I should have that option.”