MembersHow Far is Far Enough?

Israel’s government is engaged in heated debate over efforts to pass a new “loyalty law” submitted by our controversial Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev.

By Tsvi Sadan | | Topics: SOCIETY
Miri Reger
Photo: Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90

Almost from the get-go, Regev antagonized the art community with her outspoken goal of “redefining and updating the priorities of the cultural scene in Israel.” Regev, abrasive and combative as she is, touched a raw nerve in Israeli society, which for decades has promoted the kind of theater, cinema, music and art that is palatable primarily to the Ashkenazi/Western taste.

Regev–who admitted to having never read Chekhov or our national poet, Haiym Nahman Bialik–has set out to end the hegemony of liberal Ashkenazi culture. She wants to shine a bigger spotlight on the culture that Jews from Arab countries brought with them, people who preferred listening to legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum rather than to Bob Dylan, people for whom Chekhov’s plays were as foreign as Kabuki is for Italians. To do that, Regev has changed the grant policy so that more money is sent to Israel’s neglected periphery.

Regev’s main gripe has been with actors, singers and artists who use state funding to defame Israel. She was aghast when the Jerusalem Cinematheque chose to...

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