The Jerusalem Film Festival (JFF) has postponed the opening night world premiere of Eran Riklis’s Dancing Arabs by one week due to escalating tension in the region.

The film had been scheduled to screen in the open-air Sultan’s Pool venue on Thursday (July 10) at 8pm but has now been put back to July 17 at the same time and venue.

Festival director Noa Regev said: “Due to instructions from the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Film Festival’s opening event at the Sultan’s Pool, including the screening of Dancing Arabs, has been postponed to Thursday, 17.7.2014 at 20:00.

“The festival will take place as planned and we hope to see all the film-loving audiences attending the screenings and festival events.”

The film had been set to open theatrically in Israel on Thursday, however both the distributor United King and film-maker Riklis decided last week to push back the release to July 24 due to the current unrest.

“We decided to hold back a bit with the release ­ just to be sensitive about and respectful of the recent sad events,” Riklis told Screen.

The film centres on an Arab teenage boy from Tira who gets sent to a prestigious Jewish boarding school in Jerusalem.

Riklis said the recent turmoil showed “the ongoing story and reality of the conflict here. It is always present, always intense and tense, always complicated and complex, violent and targets many innocent people and yet I insist on remaining optimistic about the future of the region and its people.

“And that is why I made a film which I feel is honest, loving and respectful to all the people it deals with and tries to communicate hope to the audience while not avoiding the reality of the situation.”

Sayed Kashua adapted the screenplay from his own bestselling novel.

United King Films also served as co-producer on Dancing Arabs.