Photo: Zochrot
Promotion for the Nakba and Return Film Festival to take place at the Cinematheque.
Photo: Zochrot

Finance C'tee mulls ending funding to Cinematheque over Palestinian film festival

MK Alex Miller requests Finance Committee chairman to end funding to Tel Aviv Cinematheque because of 'Nakba and Return' film festival set to take place over the weekend.

MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu) requested the Knesset's Finance Committee stop financing to the Tel Aviv Cinematheque because of 'The Second International Film Festival on Nakba and Return,' set to take place this coming weekend.



The festival will screen films surrounding the Palestinian "Day of the Catastrophe" which commemorates the displacement of Palestinians following Israel's declaration of Independence, a day after Israel's declaration of Independence in May of 1948.


It will take place on November 29, which is the date the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the implementation of a partition plan for a Jewish state alongside an Arab state.


Promotional material for The Second International Film Festival on Nakba and Return. (Photo: Zochrot) (Photo: Zochrot)
Promotional material for The Second International Film Festival on Nakba and Return. (Photo: Zochrot)


The Chairman of the Finance Committee, Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi), agreed to hold a debate Wednesday to decide whether funding of the Tel Aviv film venue should continue.


MK Alex Miller asked the Finance Ministry to stop funding to the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. (Photo: Gil Yohanan) (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
MK Alex Miller asked the Finance Ministry to stop funding to the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


"This is a festival that marks a Palestinian day of mourning that will take place coinciding the historical and very important date for the Jewish people – the 29th of November," Miller wrote to Slomiansky.


"It is inconceivable that a cultural body, funded by the State of Israel, will boost mourning events that in Arabic are called 'Nakba' (Catastrophe), while this day for us as citizens of the State of Israel and as proud Jews is by all means a holiday," wrote Miller.


Miller said that if the Tel Aviv Cinematheque chooses to hold the festival, it will be against the law and could harm the funding given to them.


The Yisrael Beiteinu MK referred to a provision in the amendment to the Budget Foundations Law, which states that state funding can be cut to an institution if the institution claims Israel's day of independence as a day of mourning.


The Tel Aviv Cinematheque said in response they did not receive a notice regarding the planned Finance Committee debate. "We cannot respond to something we were not given information about," the Cinematheque said.


On Monday, Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat turned to the Finance Ministry to examine the possibility to deny financial support to the Cinematheque after several complaints were received about the scheduled festival.


As a response, the director of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, Alon Garbuz, told Ynet the event was being funded by the Israeli NGO Zochrot which aims to raise "the Nakba to the awareness of the broad Jewish public," according to the organization's website.


Garbuz emphasized that "the event will take place whether the Culture Ministry supports it or not. This is an important event, which is a rare opportunity for Israelis to see some material that they are not able to see on a daily basis."


"This does not represent any perspective held by the Cinematheque. Just as I project films by settlers, we will conduct this festival. We project every film creation whether it is a Haredi film in Yiddish or any other thing. Low-level officials of the Culture Ministry look for the word 'Palestinian,' run to the minister (Livnat), and tell her, look, there is support. The Culture Ministry's funding of the Cinematheque's current activities stands on NIS 230,000. We can do without it," Garbuz said.


Garbuz said the Culture Ministry provides NIS 1.8 million for all the Cinematheque's film festivals.


"They have no reason to harm independent festivals because they are truly operating in a closed economy. And what will happen if they show a movie created by an Arab at the festival? Maybe there will be a problem with that also? The threats to stop support will not stop us from creating festivals for the good of the State of Israel. It brings us together," said Garbuz.


פרסום ראשון: 11.26.14, 00:30
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