Rookie Director Natalie Portman Accused of "Foreign Invasion" in Israel

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Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman has been accused of mounting a "foreign invasion" by protestors from Israel's ultra-orthodox community after arriving in Jerusalem to shoot her directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness.

Natalie PortmanNatalie Portman Has Faced Opposition in Israel

According to the Times of Israel, the Black Swan star is in the city to work on a movie adaptation of Israeli novelist Amos Oz's memoir, detailing his childhood in Jerusalem during the chaotic years at the end of the British mandate for Palestine. Portman, who was born in the city to an Israeli father, will play Oz's mother.

Ultra-orthodox residents of the city's Nahlaot district having written the city's deputy mayor Rachel Azaria in protest at the shoot. 

"The film shooting is set to take place on several sensitive streets close to synagogues and yeshivas, and the scenes being filmed should have been examined first to make sure they don't offend anybody's sensitivities," the letter reads. Protestors also claim authorities failed to inform residents about the shooting schedule Portman's movie.

Graffiti in the region labels Portman's movie as a "foreign invasion" though deputy mayor Azaria remains convinced the Hollywood flick can have a positive influence on relations.

Natalie Portman IsraelNatalie Portman Was Born In Israel

"There is a constant tension between the desire to celebrate diverse and interesting Jerusalem and the attempts by extremist groups to prevent this," Azaria said. "The attraction of the city, its unique architecture and the efforts of the film and television industry will triumph and the cinematic growth we've seen in Jerusalem in recent years will continue to flourish with Natalie Portman in Nahlaot."

Portman actually received around $500,000 from the Jerusalem Development Authority to bring the movie to the city. Observers say scenes have included schoolchildren dressed in traditional 1940s clothing.


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