Israeli-Arab MKs and artists protest Almidan theater fund cut

Israel froze state funding last week for the Arab theater, fueling accusations that the government aims to suppress productions it deems pro-Palestinian.

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June 21, 2015 12:05
1 minute read.
Theater Masks

Theater Masks. (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)

Israeli-Arab artists and MKs from the Joint List took part in a protest at the Haifa-based Almidan Theater on Saturday over the state’s decision to block funding because of a show based on the story of a terrorist.

Israel froze state funding last week for the Arab theater, fueling accusations that the government aims to suppress productions it deems pro-Palestinian.

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Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, who has threatened to divert money from institutions seeking to “hurt the state,” said irregularities discovered in Almidan Theater’s finances led to her decision to withhold government money.

“It is prohibited to give up government funding that is a civil right,” said Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al) at the protest.

A national fund will be established in order not to remain dependent on the mercy of Regev and the government, he said.

Tibi accused the minister of treating the actors of the theater “like the Israeli police treat Arabs – as an enemy that needs to be eliminated.”

The Joint List will raise the decision of Regev in international forums, Tibi said.

Its play A Parallel Time, about Palestinians in Israeli jails, was criticized by Regev and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who banned school trips to see it.

The website for A Parallel Time said the play was inspired by the story of Walid Daka, an Arab citizen of Israel who is serving a life sentence for the 1984 abduction and killing of soldier Moshe Tamam.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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