The initiators of the Ariel cultural center boycott are "cutting into our flesh," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting that calls against participating in cultural events in the West Bank's Jewish communities must come to an end and noted that "anyone who considers himself a person of culture should not engage in boycotts and tongue-lashing against a minister or city in Israel."
The PM told his ministers that Ariel is "important" and that he was involved in establishing its cultural center. "Unfortunately I was abroad when the opening ceremony took place, so I couldn't attend. I hear some people are calling to boycott the center and are attacking the culture minister for her fight against the phenomenon.
"Boycotts – you know how they begin but you don’t know how they'll end," the Israeli premier said. "Those who decide to boycott are cutting into the flesh of all of us. I urge them to stop," he added.
The public uproar surrounding the call not to perform in the territories intensified over the weekend, when artists responded harshly to Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat's announcement that she plans to force all state-funded culture institutions to perform all over Israel as a condition for continuing their funding and as well as grant a special annual award aimed at encouraging "Zionist art."
The chairman of the Israeli screen actors union, Dvir Benedek, called on Livnat to resign, while Roni Ninio, chairman of the Israel Film & Television Directors Guild urged the Likud minister to "refrain from intervening in art."
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