Arab theater asks EU for funds after Israel cancels subsidies over play about terrorist

The artistic community in Israel has been up in arms over Culture Minister Miri Regev’s vow to slash state subsidies to cultural institutions that "delegitimize" the state.

June 20, 2015 20:33
1 minute read.
eu flag (european union)

European Union flags. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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An Arab theater in Haifa plans to appeal to the European Union for funding its productions after Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced that the state would no longer subsidize its activities in protest of a play that he claimed glorifies terrorism, Channel 2 reported on Saturday.

The Al-Midan Theater made headlines in recent weeks after Bennett ordered a halt to funding due to the staging of A Parallel Time, a play based on the life of Walid Daka, an Israeli Arab who is serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of IDF soldier Moshe Tamam.

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The artistic community in Israel has been up in arms over Culture Minister Miri Regev’s vow to slash state subsidies to cultural institutions that “delegitimize” the state.

Regev told the Knesset plenum on Monday that anyone who wants to defame Israel will do it without the government’s help or funding.

Regev’s speech came a day after a conference of artists protested her decision to defund Jaffa-based Elmina Theater, for Jewish and Arab teens, after its founder, Norman Issa, in his capacity as an actor with the Haifa Theater, refused to perform in Jordan Valley settlements over the Green Line.

Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi told a protest meeting at Al-Midan on Saturday that “we cannot give up government funding [for the theater], which is a civil right.”

“On the other hand, we need to establish a national fund so that we do not remain dependent on the good graces of Minister Regev and the cruelty of the government,” Tibi said.

“Minister Regev decided to cut off funding for Al-Midan Theater because she views the artists and actors of Al-Midan just like the Israel Police view Arabs - as enemies that need to be cut down to size and fought and not as citizens,” Tibi said.

“We have in this government an education minister, Naftali Bennett, who once referred to Palestinians as ‘shrapnel in the posterior’ and a culture minister who referred to Israel’s artists as ‘arrogant’,” he said. “This is a skewed state of affairs."

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