In protest against the planned NIS 53 million additional cut in funding for culture from the 2008 budget, all the country's cultural institutions have declared their intent to boycott Israel's 60th anniversary events.
The Israel Cultural Institutions Forum (ICIF) met last Thursday, and voted unanimously on the boycott. Ruhama Avraham, minister in charge of the 60th anniversary celebrations, was notified of the boycott prior to her committee's meeting on Sunday, as were Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Minister of Culture Raleb Majadle and Finance Minister Roni Bar-On.
The ICIF, established to combat the ever recurring cuts in Israel's already minuscule budget for culture, comprises some 150 cultural institutions including the Israel Opera, all the country's orchestras, dance companies, museums, repertory theaters, and the actors and screen-actors unions.
The declaration bluntly states that since Israel shows no respect for its cultural assets, it cannot expect to show them off on its 60th anniversary.
Last year the government agreed that the cultural budget would stand at NIS 445 million and promptly violated that agreement. This led to the submission last week by MK Michael Melchior of a private members bill that would not only fix the budget for culture, but increase it incrementally to .5% of the national budget by 2016. It is supported by 61 members of Knesset.
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