The Beirut government this week banned the release of the highly anticipated DC Comics character film Wonder Woman. The reason? The protagonist, Gal Gadot, 32, is of Israeli origin. An interior ministry source said on Wednesday it had issued an order to ban the movie based on a recommendation from the General Security Directorate.

Gadot - who carried out years of military service in the Israeli army - has not yet spoken about the decision, but in Lebanon, the measure sparked intense debate: some people called it "censorship" and others backed the government.

Total boycott

A formal request to ban the film was first made by the Ministry of Economy and Trade, which oversees a long-term policy of the Lebanese government to boycott Israeli exports, which they see as "enemy attempts to infiltrate our markets," but the decision took the moviegoers unprepared.

One of the first indications that the ban had been approved came from the Lebanese cinema's chain Grand Cinemas, which officially reported that the movie got banned in that country. Wonder Woman's distributor in Lebanon had expressed his distress over the ban and, It's not the first time that Lebanon has debated whether to screen Gadot's films.

Without diplomatic relations

When rumors about a possible ban began, Lebanese Reddit users said there was a lot of publicity about the film in their country.

A petition titled "Release Wonder Woman in Lebanon" was also circulating on Thursday. "Gal Gadot may be an Israeli, but we want to watch a movie about the amazing character of Wonder Woman," it said.

Gal Gadot had already appeared as "Wonder Woman" in the 2016 movie Batman Vs. Superman, that was exhibited in the cinemas of Lebanon.

The Ministry of Economy and Trade of Israel had requested that the film be banned under the same argument but was not successful then.

Israel and Lebanon do not have diplomatic relations. Lebanon shares its southern border and decades of acrimony with Israel; the two countries went to war in 2006 that left over 1,000 Lebanese people - mostly civilians - and over 100 Israeli soldiers dead.

The country also officially boycotts Israeli products and bars its citizens from traveling there.

The interesting fact is that for the first time in 70 years has been released a movie starring the comic book character "Wonder Woman." Lebanon’s not the first country to turn down the allure of a blockbuster Hollywood film. China has banned “The Departed,” Vietnam and Thailand banned “The Hunger Games” and “Mockingjay” respectively.