Cast member Gal Gadot poses at the premiere of "Wonder Woman" in Los Angeles, California US, May 25, 2017.
Cast member Gal Gadot poses at the premiere of "Wonder Woman" in Los Angeles, California US, May 25, 2017.

Lebanon is seeking to ban the new Wonder Woman movie because its lead actress, Gal Gadot, is an Israeli.

A security official has said a formal request for a ban has not yet been received.

A ban would require a recommendation from a six-member committee from the Ministry of Economy, a process that has not yet begun, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to reporters.

Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and has a decades-old law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from travelling or having contacts with Israelis.

The two countries have been through a number of wars, including a particularly devastating one in 2006 that battered Lebanon's infrastructure and left hundreds dead.

A group called Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon has pressed an effort against the movie.

On its Facebook page, the campaign said Gadot was a soldier in the Israeli army and has expressed support for Israel's military policies against the Gaza Strip, a coastal Palestinian territory run by Hamas.

#Lebanon : Playing a film #WonderWoman in which she is featured (as the main actress) is against the Lebanese law. In...

Posted by Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon ''- on Monday, May 29, 2017

"The state took the right decision," Samah Idriss, a member of the boycott campaign said.

"We now await the implementation. ... Even if it is one hour before the show, they should ban it anyway."

On her Facebook page, Gadot had praised Israel's military during the 2014 Gaza-Israel war, sending prayers to soldiers "who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas."

I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens. Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking...

Posted by Gal Gadot on Friday, July 25, 2014

Officials at Lebanon's Economy Ministry did not return calls seeking comment. The security official said banning a movie would ultimately come from the country's interior minister following a recommendation from the six-member committee.

Warner Bros., which has released the film, declined comment.

Past bans and controversies

There has been a precedent for the Arab League to call for banning Israel-linked films. In 2013, Arab nations acted on calls by the Arab League to ban the terrorism drama, The Attack, that was shot in Israel, even though it was made by Lebanese-born filmmaker Ziad Doueiri.

In a high-profile case in 2009, Gad Elmaleh, a French comedian of Moroccan-Jewish descent, cancelled his participation in one of Lebanon's biggest festivals because of concerns for his safety after Hezbollah's TV station alleged he served in the Israeli army.

In 2015, Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, was in hot water when she appeared in a selfie with Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, in Miami. She later apologised and said the Israeli photobombed her selfie.

Will be released in other Arab countries

Despite the controversy in Lebanon, Wonder Woman is set to open as scheduled Thursday at theatres in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait on Thursday. It is scheduled for release June 22 in Oman and June 29 in Bahrain.

The movie, based on the DC Comics character, has earned acclaim for Gadot for landing a rare leading role for a woman.

A model and former Miss Israel, Gadot did her mandatory two-year military service in Israel before starting her acting career. She appeared in sequels of the Fast and Furious franchise, none of which were banned in Lebanon.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies