Some 1,000 Israelis turned out for the Oct. 27 demonstration in Tel Aviv against proposed legislation known as the “Loyalty in Culture” law.
Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev plans a cultural loyalty bill that would allow to cut state funding to cultural institutions which violate the so-called Nakba Law. The Nakba Law authorises Israel’s finance minister to revoke funding from institutions that reject Israel’s character as a “Jewish state” or mark the country’s Independence Day as a day of mourning. In fact, every one of the 98 requests to enforce the Nakba Law submitted in the past year were rejected by the Finance Ministry’s legal adviser, including 17 requests that came from the Culture Ministry. The Cultural Loyalty Bill would transfer the authority to revoke government funding to cultural institutions tot the Ministry of Culture and Sports. Regev would have the power to cut a quarter, a third and even half the budget of every Israeli theater. In Israel, with its relatively small culture market, survival hinges on government funds.
Speaking at the protest, actress, dancer and choreographer Renana Raz said “The desire to tame the art in law is so foolish, but more than that is also evil and even more than that – it is doomed to failure. Because to want loyalty in culture is to change the DNA of art, of creativity, of life.”
Sources: Al Monitor: Israel’s ‘Loyalty in Culture’ law spreads to other ministries (November 8), Israeli artists campaign against ‘Loyalty in Culture’ law (October 30); Haarez: Regev’s Loyalty Law (November 12); Jerusalem Post: HUNDREDS PROTEST ‘CULTURAL LOYALTY BILL’ IN TEL AVIV (November 12)