Tiny fraction of Culture Ministry budget allocated to Arab language arts

Only three percent of the Culture Ministry’s budget is allocated towards supporting arts in the Arabic language, a Knesset panel revealed on Tuesday.

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May 24, 2016 20:09
1 minute read.
Racism is not me

‘RACISM IS not me,’ this image from the Bokra Facebook page promoting coexistence proclaims in Hebrew and Arabic.. (photo credit: BOKRA.NET)

Only three percent of the Culture Ministry’s budget is allocated toward supporting arts in the Arabic language, a Knesset panel revealed on Tuesday.

The Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, headed by MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) convened for a discussion regarding women making art in the Arabic language as part of the events marking Arabic Language Day at the Knesset.

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When asked by Touma-Sliman to provide data regarding the government’s allocation towards Arabic language arts for women, representatives of the Culture Ministry said they were unable to differentiate whether funds were allocated toward women or men.

They said that the ministry is currently in the process of mapping out where its funding is allocated.

The representatives also said that each year a NIS 50,000 prize is allocated to an artist in the Arabic language, but in 2015 the prize was not awarded due to a lack of a budget.

Touma-Sliman summarized the discussion and demanded the Culture Ministry increase the budget to support culture in the Arabic language.

“You cannot sit here and discuss whether or not the budget goes toward men or women when in any case we are talking about the crumbs.

The budget must grow to represent the proportion of the Arabic speaking population in the country,” she said.

Also on Tuesday, Walla news site reported that the Education Ministry approved a new pilot program to teach spoken Arabic to pupils in fifth and sixth grades.

An education ministry spokesman told The Jerusalem Post that the program is only being run as a pilot set to begin in the upcoming academic year in a handful of schools mainly in the North of the country.

The spokesman added that there are no immediate plans to turn this into a mandatory program for all 5th and 6th graders nationwide.


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