‘Festigal’ protest takes stand against price of shows

Parents rally over what they say are exorbitant prices for standard Hanukka entertainment for children.

School children 521 (photo credit: Illustrative photo: Marc Israel Sellem)
School children 521
(photo credit: Illustrative photo: Marc Israel Sellem)
A summer of fiery social protests could be followed by a winter of discontent with a group of unhappy parents announcing Thursday they plan to take a stand against what they say are exorbitant prices for standard Hanukka entertainment for their children.
Already labeled the “Festigal” protest, referring to the popular Hanukka children’s stage production, those behind this latest call for social justice are some of the same families that participated in this past summer’s “stroller” protests, which highlighted the high cost of essential goods needed to raise a family.
“We have decided to launch a battle that is a spin off of the stroller protests – we, parents, will not continue to be anyone’s suckers!” said Tali Hayat Aviraz, who was also one of those involved in the stroller protests.
“The cost of entertaining children has now reached hundreds of shekels and without any justification at all,” she said.
On Thursday, Hayat Aviraz said she had already put out a call on Facebook and received supportive feedback from those that backed the previous protest.
Hayat Aviraz, who is also director of non-profit organization Pa’amonim, which provides mentoring services for families facing severe financial debt, said she wants to show people that they can opt for a different way of living.
“I’m calling on parents to understand what they can do differently and not continue being partners to this crime by taking their children to see these shows,” she said. “There are enough Hanukka attractions that are free but not less enjoyable.”
Hayat Aviraz said that her organization’s website (www.paamonim.org) lists numerous free alternatives to keep children occupied during the winter festival.
Information published this week by the organization Va’adim, which provides information on the socioeconomic activities of workers’ unions, shows that the cost of children’s shows for the month of December have increased this year by between 10-17 percent.
Va’adim director Jacob Alloush told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that producers of such shows are expecting to see profits of hundreds of millions of shekels. This year, there are roughly 30 shows being especially prepared for the Hanukka season, including the flagship Festigal and other classics such as Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel.
“Roughly 65% of the tickets have already been sold to workers’ committees and unions,” said Alloush, pointing out that these are re-sold to employees who receive about a 25% discount on the total price of the ticket. People who do not have access to the discount offered by workers’ unions could find cheaper tickets with reductions provided by food and credit card companies.
Despite these discounts, however, Alloush said that the overall increase in ticket prices means that families will still be paying much more this year to see their favorite shows.
Also, Hayat Aviraz emphasized that not everyone belongs to a workers’ union or has another way of security a discount.
Tickets for Festigal, which features stars such as Miri Mesika, Yehudah Levy and comedian Eli Yatzpan, could cost more than NIS 210 and other shows more than NIS 189.