Education Minister Yoav Kisch announced on Monday that he reached an agreement with the National Library of Israel and is dropping his push to move the library to be under his ministry’s authority.
Kisch will appoint four members to the National Library Council – which has from 11 to 15 members – as well as a member to both the board of directors and the library’s audit committee.
The announcement was made on the education minister’s Twitter account.
עידן חדש בספריה הלאומית.בימים האחרונים הגעתי להסכמות עם הספריה.בהמשך להסכמות אלה אמנה 4 חברים למועצת הספריה הלאומית.בנוסף, אמנה חבר דירקטוריון וחבר לוועדת הביקורת של הספריה, שיקבל כמו כל חברי הועדה גישה מלאה לכלל פעילויות הספריה.אני מברך על ההבנות ומצפה לעבודה משותפת ופוריה. pic.twitter.com/GZUsrErsW7— יואב קיש Yoav Kisch (@YoavKisch) March 13, 2023
“Minister Yoav Kisch together with the chairman of the board Sallai Meridor welcomes the understandings and looks forward to further cooperation between the Education Ministry and the National Library.” A statement published on the Library’s Facebook page said, confirming the agreement.
Agreement follows widespread calls against plans to give Yoav Kisch authority over the library
The agreement follows widespread calls against plans to give Kisch authority over the library.
Kisch’s amendment impacting the library is still expected to give the ministry some control over appointments to the library board, as well as to increase “transparency and public oversight” of the institution.
The agreement came after dozens of Israeli writers and poets signed a petition in late February protesting government plans to transfer the authority of the National Library to the Education Ministry.
“We strongly oppose any political interference in the selection of the management of the National Library and demand the continuation of its independent and professional functioning,” the letter said.
“If the initiative to subjugate the National Library to political parties comes to fruition, we will not entrust our archives to it, we will reject transferring copies of our books to it and we will not give a hand to any of its activities,” they wrote. Their response to the agreement is not stated.
The library itself also emphasized that placing it under the ministry would have caused irreversible damage to its status, impacting private donations essential to its continued functioning, which in recent years have amounted to about NIS 1 billion.