Israeli puppets take flak over sexual ambivalence
JERUSALEM (AP) - The goal was merely to promote clean energy in Israel - but television advertisements starring a pair of male puppets called "plug" and "socket" have instead unleashed a debate about gay pride.
The puppets, named Sheka and Teka in Hebrew, have appeared in advertisements for the state-owned Israel Electric Corp. for more than a decade. Israelis have long playfully questioned whether they might be gay. But the arrival of a baby puppet in the new campaign set off fresh speculation about their sexual orientation.
The advertisements highlight a striking paradox of the Holy Land: Although religion holds great sway and there is no civil marriage, gays have gained a widespread acceptance that is increasingly noted around the world. Gay activists demand the advertisement characters, who have a close but ambiguous relationship, officially come out of the closet.
Some gay rights advocates accuse the company of being intentionally ambiguous about their sexuality in a cynical publicity ploy.