Dozens of top Israeli television and film personas decided to endorse a theater world protest Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat's intent to condition government funding for cultural institutes.
The minister is demanding that subsidized institutes perform anywhere in the country, including in settlements beyond the Green Line.
In an online petition, the film producers declare : "With your help we will stand by our civilian and ethical rights and obligations to express our opinion and act upon our political beliefs and our conscience, and with that try to affect the future of the State of Israel."
The petition was signed by dozens of renowned artists, including Ari Folman
(Waltz with Bashir), Ronit Elkabetz (Seven Days), Eytan Fox (The Bubble), Eitan Green (It All Begins At Sea), Shira Geffen (Jellyfish), Assaf Amir (Intimate Grammar), and Amir Harel (Yossi & Jagger, Walk on Water.)
Under the slogan Not Afraid, the protesters signed the petition, saying: "Several Knesset members and ministers from the Yisrael Beiteinu and Likud parties, as well as other right-wing members, have been demanding to stop financing artists and producers who have called to boycott the Ariel cultural center. Such threats made by Knesset members don't scare us. Israeli culture and its funding aren't like a carrot and stick situation."
"Sponsoring culture is part of the definition of a democratic state, not a weapon used to threaten and silence citizens. Culture is supposed to reflect the reality we live in, with all its problems, and not to be utilized...for propaganda purposes," the petition reads.
Ariel cultural center. 'Objection – legitimate opinion' (Photo: Ido Erez)
It goes on to say that "the refusal of theater personas, as Israeli citizens, to perform in Ariel, which isn't part of the State's sovereign territory, is their democratic right. It doesn't make any sense that objecting to the building of settlements, a common objection within the Israeli public, has become illegitimate, leading to freezing of funding, slander and silencing."
"We have to support our actors and colleagues when they are being attacked...When the culture minister, who is also our minster, said what she said, we had to express our opinion", director Eitan Green said.
Green. 'Obligated to express our opinion' (Photo: Orly Zeiler)
"It's a lot like a snowball," producer Amir Harel added. "To say that art is free of politics is by itself a problematical political perception that let's people shirk responsibility… politics is a part of our lives, and to say otherwise is to create indulgent art."
Producer Assaf Amir added that "what is common to all of us is the equation of 'art and loyalty' which we find unacceptable. It's a part of a murky wave sweeping through State that worries us. Today, anything said against Arabs or left-wing supporters sounds very popular with this racist wave in the backdrop. Right-wing politicians and Limor Livnat are trying to capitalize on it."
The petition was published only a day after an emergency meeting of the theater unions was held, chairman of the Israeli screen actors union, Dvir Benedek, calling on Livnat to resign.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook