JERUSALEM - Puppeteers from the Israeli version of Sesame Street are protesting Israel's closure of a Palestinian puppet festival.

Ariel Doron, who plays Elmo on the Israeli version of the children's television show, created a Facebook group named Puppets4All calling on Israel to permit the festival.

He said Monday his initiative was private and not co-ordinated with Sesame Street.

Other puppeteers from Israeli Sesame Street and fellow Israeli actors have uploaded photos to the Facebook group, holding puppets and signs protesting the closure.

Israeli police shut down the Palestinian national theatre in Jerusalem last week and cancelled the festival, saying the theatre illegally took funds from the Palestinian government in the West Bank.

Israel prohibits Palestinian government activity in Israeli-controlled east Jerusalem, which Palestinians seek as the capital of a future state.