Cultural revolution

Jerusalem Cinematheque deputy director Yigal Molad-Hayo is very sensitive to the issue of the cultural situation in the city. "It's not that the cultural life of Jerusalem is ending or dying as I hear around sometimes, but it's true that the situation is serious and above all, does not befit a capital city," he says. "I think the problem is larger. It is not only the cultural life. It is also the demographic process, the political situation, the economy - many things. And the cultural situation could be a real catalyst here. Like, for example, when the day comes, and I feel it is not too far away, that we will have an independent authority for the development of culture and tourism for Jerusalem." And it is no secret that when such an authority is created, Hayo is considered a prime candidate to take the helm. Hayo, 48, has been a high-ranking member on the staff of the cinematheque for 20 years. Before that, he was a student at the Hebrew University, majoring in economics and international relations. During those years, he was also a student of modern dance at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. For a short period he studied under Hassia Levy-Agron in the Bat-Dor dance company. Hayo is also a member of various cultural committees and heads the municipal committee for arts and culture, where he is the only member without a political affiliation. Although Hayo is officially deputy director of the cinema-theque, his influence is enormous. "He is very close to Lia van Leer, and thus enjoys a very high and solid position. He is totally dedicated to the cinematheque, but that doesn't mean he is not involved in other aspects of cultural life in the city," says a source in the film archive. "It is no secret that Hayo is considered by Deputy Mayor Yigal Amedi, who holds the culture portfolio and is one of Hayo's closest friends, as the potential first director of the planned culture and tourism authority." "The rehabilitation of the city center and all the projects around it will certainly change the situation pretty soon. And when the culture and tourism authority emerges, and, like in the '70s, there will be thousands of tourists in the streets of Jerusalem, I am sure that many other things will also move in the best direction," says Hayo. Hayo, who is very involved with the whole process of the creation of the authority, sounds totally convinced that it is just a matter of time until it is created. He is also convinced that the authority will dramatically improve cultural life in the city. Regarding the financial situation of the cultural institutions, Hayo is more cautious. He agrees that for most of the cultural institutions - meaning those that have to rely on the public budgets from the municipality or the Culture Ministry - "life is not easy." As for the suggestion made recently during the demonstration at Kikar Safra by the directors of cultural institutions, saying they could shut down as a means of protest, Hayo sounds even more cautious: "This is not so easy to do, and it has a lot of legal aspects one should take in account. Of course, when an important institution like the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra suffers such a cut in its budget it's terrible. But for most of us, we have obligations, we have subscribers, we cannot shut down just like that - we could face huge lawsuits. "So I think we should all think carefully about how to deal with the crisis. I think that approaching a few political figures and convincing them to take this issue into their own hands, for example, could turn out more effective with fewer threats. "But in any case," concludes Hayo, "anything done should be done together, all of us together."