Juliano Mer-Khamis, 2009
29 May 1958
|Died||4 April 2011
Jenin, West Bank
|Cause of death||Assassination|
|Resting place||Kibbutz Ramot Menashe, Israel|
|Occupation||Actor, director, activist|
|Spouse(s)||Jenny Nyman (?-2011; his death; 3 children)|
Juliano Mer-Khamis (Hebrew: ג'וליאנו מֵר ח'מיס; Arabic: جوليانو مير خميس; born Juliano Khamis; 29 May 1958 – 4 April 2011) was an Israeli/Palestinian actor, director, filmmaker, and political activist of Jewish and native Palestinian Greek Orthodox Christian parentage. On 4 April 2011, he was assassinated by a masked gunman in the Palestinian city of Jenin, where he established the Freedom Theatre.
Juliano Khamis (later Mer-Khamis) was born in Nazareth, the son of Arna Mer-Khamis, a Jewish communist, and Saliba Khamis, an Israeli Arab of Greek Orthodox Palestinian Christian descent who was an intellectual as well as one of the leaders of the Israeli Communist Party in the 1950s. He had two brothers, Spartacus and Abir. His maternal grandfather was Gideon Mer, a scientist who pioneered the study of malaria during the British Mandate. In his youth, he adopted his maternal surname, Mer, and served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a combat soldier in the Paratroopers Brigade. In a 2009 interview with Israel Army Radio, Mer-Khamis said of his background: "I am 100 percent Palestinian and 100 percent Jewish."
Film and acting career
Mer-Khamis's first film, The Little Drummer Girl, was an American thriller from 1984 directed by George Roy Hill and starring Diane Keaton, which dealt with the Israeli-Arab conflict. He starred in Avi Nesher's film, Za'am V'Tehilah (1985). Later he appeared in such Israeli films as 51 Bar (1985), Wedding in Galilee (1987), Tel Aviv Stories (1992), Zohar (1993), Under the Domim Tree (1994), and Overture 1812 (1997). He appeared in several films by Amos Gitai: Kedma, Esther (1986) and Kippur (2000).
In 2002, Mer-Khamis was nominated for the Ophir award for Best Actor for his role in Kedma. One of the last films in which he appeared was the Palestinian film Salt of this Sea (2008), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
He performed on stage with Beit Lessin Theater and Habima Theatre. In 2003, he produced and directed his first documentary film, Arna's Children, together with Danniel Danniel. The film is about his mother's work to establish a children's theatre group in Jenin during the 1980s. Seven years after the death of his mother, and following the battle in Jenin in 2002, Mer-Khamis returned to Jenin to meet and interview the children who participated in the theater, and found out that some became militants and were killed.
In 2006, following a wave of international support which was followed by his film, Mer-Khamis opened a community theater for children and adults in Jenin, called The Freedom Theatre.
The Freedom Theatre
In 2006, Mer-Khamis established the Freedom Theatre along with Zakaria Zubeidi, a former military leader of the Jenin Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Jonatan Stanczak, a Swedish-Israeli activist, and Dror Feiler, a Swedish-Israeli artist. The Freedom Theatre is a community theatre that provides opportunities for the children and youth of the Jenin Refugee Camp by developing skills, self-knowledge and confidence and using the creative process as a model for social change.
Mer-Khamis was shot by masked gunmen in front of the theater he founded in Jenin. He was rushed to the Jenin Hospital, where he was pronounced dead after his arrival. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the killing, saying that "We cannot stand silent in the face of this ugly crime, it constitutes a grave violation that goes beyond all principles and human values and it contravenes with the customs and ethics of co-existence."
After being identified by the baby-sitter (who'd been in the car when the assassination occurred) in three separate line-ups, Palestinian police charged Mujahed Qaniri, from Jenin's refugee camp, with having carried out the murder. There are varying accounts of Qamiri's affiliation, some describe him as a former member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades who defected to Hamas, but a Hamas spokesman has denied any involvement, describing this as a purely criminal incident.
|1984||The Little Drummer Girl||Julio|
|1985||Not Quite Paradise||Hassan (terrorist)|
|1987||Wedding in Galilee (Urs al-Jalil)||Officer|
|1993||Sipurei Tel-Aviv (Tel Aviv Stories)||Jeno|
|1994||Nothing to Lose||Antonio Valdez|
|1994||Under the Domim Tree (Etz Hadomim Tafus)||Ariel|
|1995||Night Terrors (film)||Mahmoud (as Juliano Mer)|
|2000||The Last Patrol||Jesus Carrero|
|2003||Arna's Children||Himself||Won FIPRESCI Prize|
|2004||God's Sandbox (Tahara)||Nagim||Nominated for Best Actor|
|2008||Salt of this Sea||Hiking leader||Palestinian submission for Oscar in "Best Foreign Language Film" category|
|2009||Hadutha Saghira||Israeli soldier|
Television and video
|1992||Sweating Bullets||Melito||Series – played in "Don't Say Nothing Bad About My Baby" episode|
|1996||The Revolutionary II||Centurion||Video|
|2001||1000 Calories||Eitan Katz||TV movie|
- "Juliano Mer-Khamis laid to rest at Kibbutz Ramot Menashe". Ynetnews. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011. "Arab-Israeli actor Juliano Mer-Khamis, who was murdered in Jenin on Tuesday is being laid to rest at the kibbutz Ramot Menashe cemetery, where he will be buried next to his mother Arna. Israeli and Arab actors acco[m]panied him on his final journey."
- "ynet השחקן והיוצר ג'וליאנו מר נרצח ביריות בג'נין – חדשות". Ynet.co.il. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- Birenberg, Yoav (6 April 2011). "Juliano Mer's final curtain call". Ynetnews. Retrieved 7 April 2011. "Many of the jolts and tribulations experienced by the three brothers stem from their childhood as the sons of an Arab intellectual father Saliba Khamis and a Jewish mother, Arna Mer, a relentless idealist who joined Maki (the Israeli Communist Party)."
- Feferman, Bob. "Actor Juliano Mer-Khamis gunned down in Jenin,". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- "Weddings on the Front Line". Macleans.
- Dahlah, Saif. "Jewish-Arab director shot dead in northern West Bank". Agence France Presse. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- "Juliano Mer's final curtain call". Ynetnews.com. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- Anderman, Nirit (16 February 2011). "Mideast can't bear bridge-building figures like Juliano Mer-Khamis". Haaretz. Israel. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- "Actor Juliano Mer-Khamis gunned down in Jenin", Jerusalem Post
- The Economist, "Juliano Mer-Khamis", 16 April 2011, pg. 92
- "PA forces nab Hamas suspect in Mer-Khamis murder". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- Feferman, Bob. "Actor Juliano Mer-Khamis gunned down in ... JPost – National News". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- "Israeli-Arab actor shot dead in West Bank". English.aljazeera.net. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- "Jenin militant charged over theatre director murder". Yahoo! News (Jenin). AFP. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- Killer Of Israeli-Palestinian Director Still At Large. International Middle East Media Center. 19 April 2011. Last accessed 27 Dec 2011
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Juliano Mer|
- Juliano Mer-Khamis at the Internet Movie Database
- The Murder of an Actor/Activist – slideshow by Life magazine