Based on the memoir by Izzeldin Abuelaish
Adapted by Izzeldin Abuelaish and Shay Pitovksy
Directed by Shay Pitovksy
Featuring Gassan Abbas
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Sprenger Theatre
January 23-February 14, 2016


The story of the Gaza fertility doctor (nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize) who refuses to relinquish his commitment to coexistence, even after tragedy befalls his family during Operation Cast Lead. The production, performed in Hebrew and Arabic by one of Israel's leading Palestinian actors, Gassan Abbas, brings humanity and heroism to the role of Abuelaish, in a script adapted and staged by one of our Festival's featured young artists, the Israeli director, Shay Pitovsky. Part of the Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival.


Performed in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. 

Run time: 75 minutes.


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Meet the Artists

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish


Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish (Author)

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, OOnt, MD, MPH, is a Palestinian physician and an internationally recognized human rights and inspirational peace activist. Dr. Abuelaish has been nominated for three consecutive years for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has been named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims five consecutive years by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan, as well one of the 500 Most Powerful Arabs in the World. In Canada, he was named one of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants, and was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2013. Dr. Abuelaish has been given seven honorary degrees from the University of Manitoba, Queen’s University, Victoria University, Sault College, McMaster University, University of Saskatchewan, and The University of Western Ontario. He has also received several prestigious awards, including the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award of Canada, the World Citizenship in Action Award, the Stavros Niarchos Prize for Survivorship, the Lombardy Region Peace Prize, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. His long list of admirers includes Jimmy Carter, Nobel Laureates Elie Wiesel and John Polanyi, and Barak Obama. Dr. Abuelaish has been interviewed by prominent journalists, including Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, Sir David Frost and Zeinab Badawi, and he has appeared on prominent media outlets such as BBC News Hard Talk, Fox News Channel (FOX), CNN, Al Arabiya News, London’s The Telegraph, ABC, TVO, The Globe and Mail, The Economist, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Boston Globe, People Magazine. Dr. Abuelaish has been referred to as the Nelson Mandela of the Middle East, and has been compared to Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King.

Dr. Abuelaish’s internationally best-selling book, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, an autobiography that centers on his life, his achievements, and the loss of his daughters and nieces in the 2009 Gaza War, has been translated to 23 languages and has achieved critical acclaim. It has become a testament to his commitment to forgiveness as the solution to conflict and the catalyst towards peace. Dr. Abuelaish is the Founder and President of the Daughters for Life foundation, which provides education and leadership training to girls and women in the Middle East, regardless of religion and/or citizenship. Currently, Dr. Abuelaish lives with his five children in Toronto where he is an associate professor of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Gassan Abbas


Gassan Abbas (Performer)

Gassan Abbas is an Israeli-Palestinian stage and screen actor. He received his education from the Tel- Aviv University, where his focus was on television and theater. He has worked in many of Israel’s leading theaters, including the Cameri Theater, and Beit Lessin Theater. He has either acted in, or directed, over 70 theater productions and 20 movies, including a number of foreign productions. In 2001, Abbas founded Diwan El-Lajon theater in his hometown of Umm al-Fahm. He was named Best Actor at the Carthage Cinema Festival in Tunisia in 2006, and again at the Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre in 2009 for his role in Hertzel Said. Abbas currently works at the Habima Theater in Tel-Aviv.

Shay Pitovsky

Co-Adapter & Director

Shay Pitovsky (Co-Adapter & Director)

Shay Pitovsky is a playwright, director and Artistic Director of Elad Theater, and from 2008- 2015 was Artistic Director of the Young Habima Company. He is an alumnus of the Dramatic Arts School of Seminar Hakibbutzim (directors division), and of the School for Drama Writing. Projects at The Habima Theater include: Ten Minutes from Home (after the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin), the promised land and God Waits at the Station (both international projects by the UTE), The Nose by Gogol, Monsieur de Pourceaugnac by Moliere, The Oath (based on a Jewish tale) and I Shall Not Hate (based on the autobiography by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish). At Haifa Theater: The adventures of a donkey that is all pure (based on a children’s book by Nachum Gutman). Fringe Festival projects include: The Breakdown by Durrenmatt (Winning Best Show of the Year, Best Director, and Best Costumes), Beatrice (based on a short story by Nahum Guttmann) and Drawers (a dance-theater performance).


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