The Israeli Film Censorship Board has banned the showing of "The Passover Plot," a movie based on a controversial book of the same name that depicts Jesus as a revolutionary who tried, unsuccessfully, to stage his "fake" death.

A spokesman for the board said that while the practice of government censorship is "arguable," in this instance "the board could not possibly endorse the screening of a film offensive to part of the population that hits at the very basis of their Christian faith."

Mhen the film was producted in Israel in 1976, with government permission, the government made clear it had refused to help producers.

The government said that, while it neither sanctioned nor supported making of the film, it lacked grounds for denying permission to have it made on Israeli soil.

Later, however, the government refused a work permit to Danish film-maker Jens Joergen Thorsen, thus preventing him from producing a pornagraphic movie in Israeli on what he called the sex life of Jesus.

"The Passover Plot," based on the book by British scholar Hugh Schonfield, portrays Jesus as ordering the betrayal of Judas. According to the book, Jesus could have died in the drugged to appear dead, Jesus would then pretend to have risen. Schonfield says the "unplanned" thrust of the Roman soldier's lance spotted Jesus' "plot."