(photo credit: OBSERVER RESEARCH FOUNDATION)
As Israel prepares to celebrate Independence Day, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev instructed the director- general of her ministry to draft a proposal requiring all state-funded institutions to fly the national flag.
The proposal would include sports centers, soccer stadiums, cultural institutions and theaters built with state funds in both Jewish and Arab municipalities.
“The State of Israel’s 68th Independence Day and Memorial Day requires us to uphold the values of the state and its symbols,” she said.
“It is unfathomable that flying the flag in cultural institutions and in sports arenas that were built by the state be left to the discretion of one person or the other,” she said.
“The institutions Israel builds should wave the flag with pride.”
Regev’s initiative follows her recent controversial “Loyalty in Culture” bill, which would give the culture minister the authority to withhold state monies from cultural institutions that incite to racism, violence or terrorism or support armed conflict against Israel.
The bill, which received backing from Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, caused public backlash from both opposition MKs and Israeli artists who asserted that Regev is attempting to act as a censor – a claim she denied.
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen blasted the proposal.
“Minister Regev continues to display provocative nationalism and incitement against Arab citizens,” said the Hadash MK, noting that it follows her “cultural loyalty” bill, which is an attempt “to force Jewish majority symbols on the Arab public.”
“What does this add to culture? What values does it promote? Does it promote coexistence and understanding between Jews and Arabs, or does it deepen tensions and alienation? “In a real democracy the state does not impose national symbols on the minority,” he continued.
“Regev’s populism hurts culture, democracy and the delicate relationship between the two nations,” he concluded.