The festival, held annually, presents performances of operas by contoversial19th century German composer Richard Wagner, whose work is said to have influenced the anti-Semitism of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Wagner's offspring, who direct the festival to this very day, were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazi Party and would often host Hitler and the party's senior officials.
Due to his major contribution to the Nazi racial policy, Wagner's compositions are boycotted in Israel and Israeli orchestras usually avoid playing them.
Reports on the Israel Chamber Orchestra's intention to perform at the Bayreuth festival, which began surfacing in October, sparked a row in Israel. MKs from different factions were shocked to learn recently that the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon-Lezion was also planning to send representatives to the event.
A new initiative, led by Chairman of the Knesset's Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee Danny Danon (Likud), seeks to revoke funds received by both orchestras from the State.
'A spit in the face of Israel's citizens'
The initiative has received the support of lawmakers from both the coalition and the opposition.
"There is nothing more despicable than adopting the culture which created Nazism," says MK Danon. "The participation of official Israeli orchestras in the Wagner Festival is a spit in the face of all of Israel's citizens, not just Holocaust survivors. The funding of these orchestras must be stopped if they take part in the outrageous festival."
In a letter to Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Danon noted that the State funnels millions of shekels in funding to the orchestras, and that the infusion of funds must be stopped if they refuse to change their plans.
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