The Knesset will soon hold its first reading of a bill that would place West
Bank settlement museums under Israeli law, but the legislation seeks much more
On the surface of it, the bill is about museum funding and
allows those institutions to apply for government money on an equal footing with
museums within the pre-Six Day War armistice line.
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But the bill’s author,
MK Uri Ariel (National Union), has been blunt about his plan to annex Judea and
Samaria through a de facto legislative process, by which each Israeli law would
be amended to apply to West Bank settlements. At present, they are under
On Wednesday, the Knesset Education Committee, during a
meeting in which only three members were present, Ariel and Israel Beiteinu MKs
Robert Ilatov and Alex Miller unanimously approved the museum bill for its first
reading by the legislature. It becomes law only after a third reading
“It could be voted on in the Knesset plenum [for a first reading]
as early as next week or the week after,” said Miller, who chairs the Education
During the meeting, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat
(Likud) spoke out in support of the bill, which she said was necessary because
the cultural institutions in Judea and Samaria had been denied adequate
“The time has come to end the discrimination,” Ariel said. If
the government gives money to support cultural institutions, then all its
citizens should benefit, he added.
More to the point, Ariel said, Judea
and Samaria is the historical cradle of the nation. It is “absurd” that its
museums can’t get government money, he said.
As a resident of the Ariel
settlement in Samaria, Miller told The Jerusalem Post
he sees how the problem
with the region’s museums are part and parcel of the larger issue of living in
an area of the country which is under military law.
Currently, he said,
an “absurd situation” exists in which Israel is a democratic country, and yet in
Judea and Samaria its citizens do not have the same rights as other
He agreed with Ariel that every relevant law has to be amended
to remedy that inequity.