Israeli lawmakers in the Knesset's coronavirus committee on Monday convened to vote on reopening of cultural centers, saying return of cultural life is a question of "how, not if."
Last week, the committee defied the government's wishes by overturning a ban on gyms and swimming pools, prompting an apparently idle threat from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire the committee's chair, Likud MK Yifat Shasha-Biton.
Shasha-Biton appeared defiant at the start of the meeting on Monday afternoon, suggesting if the culture industry will not be revived during the warmer months it will completely collapse since the chances of reopening it in the winter are slim.
“We want an outline that would allow events to take place indoors and outdoors, but mostly outdoors," she said. "We are here to find the best way to open up the industry. Let's talk about 'how' and not 'if.'"
The debate focused on the future of some 150,000 jobless from the fields of music, film, television, lighting, sound, costume design, stage decor and acting, who found themselves without an income since the onset of the COVD-19 outbreak in Israel.
Beit Lessin Theater general director, Tzipi Pines, who attended the meeting, said they've been out of work for the past five months, without receiving government help.
"The expression 'the show must go on' has lost its meaning," she said. "We are not talked about, they talk about resuming flights but not about bringing us back," she added.
"If it continues, we will never be able to reopen. So far, we have been polite. I do not want to say that we will open up against the orders, but it is a rebellion."
Health Ministry Deputy Director-General Prof. Itamar Grotto, who also participated in the debate, said he supports partial reopening of the industry due to "stabilization" of the coronavirus infection rate.
"We want to come up with one general outline that will be clear to the public, and it's already in the stages of development. Tomorrow it will be ready, and we will table it for the government's approval."