Ariel culture center. City home to tens of thousands of Jews
Photo: Meir Partush
Eitan Haber
Photo: Meir Partush

Theater of the absurd

Op-ed: Leftist actors’ refusal to perform beyond Green Line neither moral nor wise

The refusal of thirty something actors, playwrights, and authors to appear at the new cultural center in Ariel takes us back to the loud declaration attributed to Israel’s sixth president, Chaim Herzog, may he rest in peace: “The Right has no brains, but the Left has no heart.”


One need not be a great fan of the Greater Israel notion or of the settlers in Judea and Samaria in order to understand that this time, the group of refuseniks went one step too far: Jews boycotting Jews over the latter’s address and possibly over their political views too.


Ariel is home to tens of thousands of Jews, including leftists, and just like their money subsidizes the salaries and theaters of the refuseniks, these people too deserve a decent dose of culture, especially with the inauguration of a new cultural center.


Perform first, protest later  

As long as it hasn’t been decided otherwise, and as long as Ariel residents are Israeli residents in every way, one cannot use their money via tax collection while at the same time refusing to perform before them. Are you adding insult to injury?


Had it been the other way around, and Ariel residents would refuse to attend a play if the actors did not serve in the IDF, for example, these same refuseniks would slam such conduct as “chutzpah.” They would certainly go berserk.


Hence, the theaters that suck up the State’s money owe their dose of culture to the taxpayers. So first get on stage and perform, and only later you can head to anti-settlement protests if you wish, even in Ariel.


What we saw was an unwise move by playwrights and theater actors, who will likely be met with a response by rightist colleagues. Indeed, should centrist and rightist Israelis boycott the plays of Habima, for example, our national theater would be able to summon all the remaining leftist audience members to one of Tel Aviv’s smallest venues, Tsavta 2, and we would still see empty seats.



פרסום ראשון: 08.30.10, 00:44
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