"I will not give up one shekel of the culture budget," Ophir Paz-Pines said Monday during his first speech as Culture Minister. Paz-Pines spoke at the first annual conference on Israeli arts and society, which was organized by the Israel National Lottery and took place in Ashdod. The conference was convoked to discuss Israel's cultural policies. "Culture is not a luxury. It is a basic social right just like education, health and welfare," Paz-Pines said.