(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat distanced herself Tuesday from MK Michael Ben- Ari’s (National Union) provocative protest in the midst of a play at the Cameri Theater Monday night.
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Livnat said that she did not approve of the protest, launched by Ben-Ari and a handful of right-wing activists, but also said that the protest and the artists’ boycott of Ariel were emblematic of the same unacceptable political activism.
Ben-Ari, together with his parliamentary aide Itamar Ben- Gvir and a number of activists, took center stage Monday evening at the Cameri’s production of Oy God, where they protested against a number of artists’ refusal to appear in troupe productions scheduled for the yet-to-be inaugurated Ariel Cultural Center.
Oy God was written by Anat Gov, one of the most vocal signers of the artists’ letter, first issued late last month.
The activists yelled out, “Leftwingers – racists – make apartheid
against Jews. You wouldn’t dare to boycott Arabs! Shame!,” as they
stormed the stage.
Security guards were summoned, and after they removed the activists, the
play continued. As Ben-Ari and his comrades were led out, the audience
applauded the actors and booed the activists.
The actors in the production did not ignore the disturbance.
Rather, the actor Oded Teomi, who opposed the boycott of Ariel, yelled
at the activists for interrupting the performance, especially in light
of the fact that he had supported holding performances in Ariel.
Cameri manager Noam Semel later said that he was aware that the
right-wing activists were in the audience, and that he had alerted
actors to the fact that they might try to create a scene.
“They bought tickets at NIS 70 each, and got publicity worth NIS 700,000,” complained Semel in an interview on Army Radio.
“This was political bullying that is unacceptable and is reminiscent of
dark periods of human history,” continued Semel, who had previously
reassured Ariel residents that his company would not boycott their
theater. “Oded Teomi is a 70-year-old whose father was murdered by
He is the salt of the land.”