Cameri attaches OLA assets

Cameri attaches OLA asse

The Tel Aviv Municipal court has acceded to a writ submitted by attorney Ofer Shahal on behalf of the Cameri Theater to attach the assets of Omanut L'Am (OLA or Art for the Masses) for non-payment of debts owing the theater and other artists for their performances in towns, villages and other venues on the periphery, and especially in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. The suit was brought jointly by the Cameri and the actors' union EMI. This is just the latest wrinkle in a series of disasters that led to the suspension by the Ministries of Justice, Finance and Culture of all OLA activities back in June. State comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss had commissioned a special report following worrying allegations in March that there were improprieties in OLA management. Indeed, the report submitted by the Treasury's accountant-general revealed severe abuses, improper use of the trust to further political ends and support of events ineligible for support, such as outings to theme parks, catered events, and parties. The closure of OLA put on hold not only the payments owing to all those participating in OLA activities, but also those to deprived schools, community centers, poor communities and other cultural events. Since its creation for the purpose in the 1950s, OLA's mandate has been to bring culture to the periphery: theater, music, dance, literature, poetry, the plastic arts, and more. In a statement released last week, Minister of Culture Limor Livnat said her people are "working night and day to resolve the OLA crisis." The ministry's three major goals, she said, are to resume cultural activities in periphery towns, to pay the monies owing to the artists, and to find a regular job for the 12 OLA employees who OLA management fired at the beginning of the month for refusing to battle the ministry. "If not OLA, then some other organization [will take on the job]," Livnat has said.