Minister Miri Regev.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Miri Regev cannot block state funding for nude art, Deputy Attorney-General Dina Zilber told the culture and sport minister on Sunday.
On May 30, Regev had asked the management of the Israel Festival to prevent any funding for performances that included nudity.
She had gone as far as telling the management that it should not even bother submitting funding applications for such performances.
In response, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel appealed, on behalf of those performers whose presentations included nudity, to Zilber to intervene.
Zilber wrote to Regev and rebuked her for threatening to block funding based on the content of the performances when she has no authority to do so.
The letter from Zilber said that only the Finance Ministry can block funding for cultural issues. Even then, she wrote that it can only prevent funding for content that is against Israel’s existence, supports terrorism or contains racist content.
The deputy attorney-general pointed out that Regev has been instructed in the past that she has no power to prevent cultural events from receiving funding due to content that she disagrees with.
Regev has continued to ignore directives from the Attorney-General’s Office, though letters such as Zilber’s free those under Regev from being bound by her requests.
Zilber noted that the nude content in the performances was protected by free speech principles and that attendees who came to see the performances “were exposed voluntarily and are not a captive audience.”
Her letter ended quoting former culture minister Yigal Allon rejecting requests at the time to condition funding for the arts based on content based on the idea that only public debate could prevent the weakening of democracy.