“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
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Main topics covered in this Publication:
- Surprising local elections
- Controversial commemoration of Rabin murder
- Jordan does not want to extend leases of land to Israel
1. Surprising local elections
Despite death threats, I want to serve Jerusalem
(…) East Jerusalem has a shortage of 2,000 classrooms, and as a result the street violence and delinquency among Arab youth is on the rise, a fertile breeding ground for extremist anti-state terrorist activities. There is little organised planning, and building permits and proper infrastructure are badly needed. The piles of trash in the streets are no comparison to the relatively clean streets in the western side of the city. The Shuafat and Kfar Akeb neighborhoods are now fully controlled by local crime gangs. This will only get worse and spread, affecting both Jewish and Arab residents unless we take immediate action to redress the situation. I, Dr. Ramadan Dabash, a Muslim resident of East Jerusalem, (…) have decided to become proactive and am standing for a seat on the municipal council of a city which should be united not just in name but in practice. A united city in which all residents, from both the east and west, can take pride; where all residents enjoy the same services for which they pay! (…) I urge you all, Jewish and Arab alike, to vote for my party (…). Let us make history together and create change for the sake of peace for us all, for a better life for us and our children; for a real peace, not just one written on a piece of paper. (…) Vote “YUD” in the voting booths.
Ramadan Dabash, TOI, 24.10.18
Why local elections matter
(…) local authorities, while not involved in the well-known issues of war and peace, the Palestinian conflict, and foreign relations, nevertheless play a major role in Israeli life. (…) Just like in the national political arena, however, the quality of the politicians varies greatly, which is why, similar to other governance questions in Israel, reform is sorely needed. (…) mayors and councils hold sway on issues of vital public importance: education, culture, infrastructure and zoning, commerce and quality of life, to name but a few. Municipalities with ample resources have a lot of power to shape their local environment – and by extension, the lives of their residents. The opposite, to be sure, is also true for those localities with fewer resources at their disposal. (…) Seemingly not a week goes by without another report on a mayor being questioned by the police. This is a byproduct of the local political system. (…) With one signature the head of a local council can create millions of shekels in business: choosing one contractor over another, approving or denying a re-zoning permit, allowing a hotel complex to go ahead or not. (…) On the local level, reform of the planning and building committees is necessary in order to better inform the public and defend against corruption. Transparency of committee deliberations, accessibility to information, greater public participation at earlier stages of the planning process, publicizing – and eliminating – conflicts of interest, and increased legal oversight are all steps that need to be taken. The good news is that much of them already exist in the legal code; it just needs to be implemented. (…)
Yohanan Plesner, JPO, 28.1018
Berkovitch for a tolerant Jerusalem
(…) Jerusalem is known as a city of “camps.” (…) Jerusalemites may have a conservative reputation, but in this campaign they’ve been ignoring the “vote contractors” and have shown political maturity and independent thought. Of the mayoral candidates with a chance to win, two are political veterans who came from outside Jerusalem hoping to conquer it. One, Moshe Leon, an associate of ministers Arye Dery and Avigdor Lieberman, arrived five years ago. The other, Elkin, a Likud hawk, moved to the city a few months ago. (…) The other two candidates are Jerusalemites emerging from local politics. Daitch represents Agudat Yisrael, while Berkovitch is the founder and chairman of the Hitorerut (Hebrew for Awakening) movement, which is composed of both secular and Orthodox Jews. (…) A victory for Daitch would return the city to the days when female dancers at a public event became an explosive political issue and the gay pride parade was an event to be ashamed of. Berkovitch, who built a strong and popular movement in Jerusalem without a political apparatus behind him, has displayed an understanding of the city’s deep problems. A victory for him would be a victory for an open, tolerant and modern Jerusalem.
Editorial, HAA, 30.10.18
Women on every list
(…) Ultra-Orthodox support for Haifa’s new mayor demonstrates that the exclusion of women – in politics and other realms – is not a decree from heaven or holy concept in Jewish law, but is primarily derived from power struggles. There’s no justification for agreeing to a discriminatory attitude toward half the population. (…) The explanation for refusing women the right to run for office is that it poses “halakhic difficulties” or could “offend” people – so much so that there’s seemingly no choice but to respect the demand to bar women from contending. But the support by Degel Hatorah and Shas for secular female candidates points to a different reason: the fear of undermining rabbinical control over tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox women. It’s not an imaginary modesty problem, but a desire to continue oppressing the women of their communities. (…) There should be no restrictions on women being able to run for office.
Editorial, HAA, 31.10.18
2. Controversial commemoration of Rabin murder
Stop poisoning the memory
(…) on the anniversary of the murder of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, certain individuals, perhaps more than a handful, are overcome with a sense of bitterness. (…) The spirit of this remembrance day is gradually shifting direction (…) toward a regular weekday, just another day. (…) we saw divisions and political head-butting rear their heads, with very little room for stateliness. (…) Would it be completely absurd to say that on this sacrosanct day of remembering the murder of a prime minister, there was an atmosphere of elections? (…) the arrows of rhetoric (…) were soaked in political poison. It was a secular, stately, important event, yet they also brought up the issue of Jordan’s demand to return lands leased to Israel. And the prime minister clearly stated how he will respond to this development. And why, of all times and places, on Rabin’s memorial day? Obviously: Jordan’s demand, whether intentional or not, came on the anniversary of Rabin’s murder. (…) Why can’t we transcend ourselves on this hallowed day? We have a year to foster the change we desire before the next memorial day. Really, can’t we do better?
Yaakov Ahimeir, IHY, 22.10.18
Killing Rabin killing Oslo
(…) the night (…) the prime minister was killed, so was the peace process. (…) Rabin had succeeded in creating a level of trust and confidence among the Palestinian leaders – including Arafat – that has not existed since. (…) Anyone who has studied conflict resolution and negotiation knows that building trust between the negotiators is an essential element for success. (…) The mutual disdain and mistrust between Abbas and Netanyahu is more than evident today. The mutual disdain and mistrust has been earned by both sides, and the animosity between Israelis and Palestinians today is the result of mutual acts of confidence-destruction over long periods of breached agreements and understandings by both sides. The relationships between the existing political leadership of Israel and Palestine is probably beyond repair and without any hope. Rabin’s murder was political. His murderer achieved his goals far beyond imagination. The Oslo process has been dead for a long time, and its failures, rather than being learned from in order to correct them, have been buried and dismissed. (…) It will take new leaders who are able to develop trust and confidence, first between themselves, and then with their own people and with those on the other side of the conflict. (…)
Gershon Baskin, JPO, 24.10.18
Revealed: The people behind the notorious Rabin-SS posters
(…) For 23 years the settlers, Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and religious Zionists have been trying to evade any link to the repulsive murder. As far as they are concerned, the murderer is a rogue element who was not influenced by anything and does not represent anything. He lives in a vacuum. And this is of course a crude lie. The vile murderer came from the heart of religious Zionism, a student at Bar-Ilan University who spent many a Shabbat in Hebron and was very much influenced by the horrible incitement at demonstrations, in yeshivot and in synagogues. (…) The settlers are also spreading lies about the Shin Bet security service’s involvement in the demonstration in Zion Square. (…) an indictment was filed in Juvenile Court in Jerusalem against two 16-year-old boys. The session was held behind closed doors because they were minors. (…) The ruling states that the person who prepared the “Rabin in an SS uniform” poster was one of the two youths, who acted on his own initiative. The boy put together a picture of Rabin’s face on top of the head of SS leader Heinrich Himmler, and in early October 1995 he made a number of copies of the poster in his father’s office. On October 5, 1995, he participated in the demonstration in Zion Square and handed out copies of the poster among the crowd, which was shouting hysterically, “In blood and fire, we will cast out Rabin,” “Rabin is a traitor” and “Rabin is a murderer.” (…) This is the historical truth and there is no other. No Shin Bet (…) That is why many people need to apologize. They also have the opportunity to do so: In 10 days, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv at the annual memorial ceremony for Rabin.
Nehemia Shtrasler, HAA, 25.10.18
(…) suspicious packages were discovered across the United States. They were addressed to former president Barack Obama, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, CIA Director John Brennan and philanthropist George Soros. (…) This reminds us of our own national trauma in Israel and how incitement brought down one of the Jewish state’s greatest leaders, the soldier-statesman Yitzhak Rabin, who was murdered 23 years ago on November 4, 1995 at the height of the controversy over the Oslo Accords. (…) Rabin’s vision of an Israel at peace and of a stable region made possible through Israel’s military superiority was cut short by the vile assassin’s bullet. For many of the Oslo generation, that bullet ended the dreams of peace and set Israel on a different trajectory. If not for the vicious campaign of incitement that was waged in the lead-up to the assassination, the terrible loss and trauma that we suffered might have been avoided. (…) Over the years, many on the Left in Israel have been called traitors in heated exchanges and at times of tension by those on the Right. For instance, B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence were denounced as traitors (…). These kinds of words are not the way. B’Tselem or Breaking the Silence may be wrong in some of their choices. (…) Groups that critique Israel should be welcomed as part of Israel’s commitment to democracy; where politicians think that these critics have made mistakes, they should be confronted with ideas, not rancor. (…)
Editorial, JPO, 25.10.18
Political murder, political rally
The annual disagreement over the memorial for Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv revolves this year around the question of the participation of Meretz. (…) Last year’s “scandal” was over the absence of the word “murder” from the main invitation to the event. In the wake of criticism from the left, the wording was changed — from “rally in memory of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory” to “rally marking 22 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.” In both cases, what stands out are the ardent efforts of the organizers to lend the event an apolitical, unifying and moderate atmosphere. In other words, the supreme goal is not to annoy, to hurt or to create division, more than it is to put together an event that reflects the circumstances around the time of the assassination and 23 years later. There’s nothing surprising about that: Darkenu calls itself a movement of “the moderate majority” and stresses the importance of cooperation “from across the social and political spectrum.” In this context, this remark by Zandberg is not surprising: “To smoothen Meretz’s participation, I was offered a deal during the past few days: Meretz will participate only if Ayelet Shaked or another senior figure from the settler right also speaks.” Balance and symmetry are the Holy Grail to those who don’t want to say anything meaningful. Given that this is a private project, and a rather bland one at, it need not be treated as if it were particularly important. Neither Darkenu nor the memorial’s participants will change the simple facts of Rabin’s assassination and its significance: The prime minister was murdered at the height of a peace rally, by a religious, right-wing man who had been incited by right-wing politicians and rabbis, among them our current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Haaretz, Editorial, 26.10.18
3. Jordan does not want to extend leases of land to Israel
Jordan’s warning message
King Abdullah sought to show Israel that its policies in the territories and the Gaza Strip would no longer continue without a Jordanian response. The decision by Jordan’s King Abdullah not to renew Israel’s lease of two parcels of land in southern and northern Israel when it ends in October 2019 sends a clear message to the government. (…) nothing can be taken for granted in its relations with Jerusalem. (…) Abdullah sought not only to appease his opponents but also to show Israel, with an object lesson, that its policies in the territories in general and the Gaza Strip in particular, would no longer continue without a Jordanian response. (…) even if the land lease is not very important in economic terms, its diplomatic symbolism is enormous. The original agreement presented, for the first time, the use of a lease to solve territorial disputes, paving the way for (unrealized) proposals to apply the method to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to the conflict with Syria. It follows from this that the continued observance of the lease agreement is of supreme strategic importance, requiring Israel to view Jordan as a full partner that will not tolerate an Israeli policy that could jeopardize its stability.
Editorial, HAA, 23.10.18
Jordan deserves a strong response
(…) The king’s decision (…) proves that agreements between states, and particularly concessions on sovereignty, must not be based on hopes that appear realistic at the time of the signing but are susceptible to erosion over time. (…) The Israeli government now has a choice between trying to appease the king at its own expense and an aggressive response that will preserve the letter of the accord in the driest sense. Today, Jordan receives from Israel far more than what the accord stipulates. Israel provides these things because it wants to strengthen the relations, which Rabin was so hopeful about and which led him to sign the temporary lease, according to Sheves. (…) According to the current predominant paradigm in Israel, a Hashemite king presiding over a dictatorship is preferable to a representative government. (…) Perhaps the time has come to examine whether this conception endangers us in a changing Middle East.
Ze´ev Jabotinsky, IHY, 24.10.18
Israel and Jordan: A looming crisis that should be prevented
(…) Facing growing criticism and periodic waves of demonstrations of citizens protesting against economic and social hardships, the king (…) managed to divert his people’s attention from their daily problems. (…) In addition (…) King Abdullah is frustrated by the right-wing Netanyahu government, which demonstrates little interest in promoting a dialogue with the Palestinians, and is pushing for international recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, thus ignoring Jordan’s special role in the holy Muslim sites (…). In fact, this very issue has been the cause of a series of diplomatic crises between the two countries in recent years. (…) The question is what can be done now to prevent the situation from deteriorating into another diplomatic crisis. Unfortunately, as Jordan’s quiet messages went unheeded by Israel, the king tweeted his decision publicly. That makes it difficult for him to backtrack without a blow to his own pride. In addition, by inflaming public opinion, Jordanian media turned the decision into an issue that involves now national honor. Just as the tiny territory of Taba in the Sinai Peninsula became a national issue for Egypt in the 1980s, Naharayim and Tzofar have now became hot is. (…) Israel should not (…) threaten to cut the water supply to Jordan, which was stipulated in the peace agreement. (…) Israel should (…) make an effort to divert any discussions on this issue from the public to the secret track, removing the sting from the heated public debate in the media on both sides. (…)
Elie Podeh, JPO, 25.10.18
We sit and wait for it to blow up in our face
It appears as if the last Jordanian move (…) has come to us as a total surprise. (…) There are two reasons for this crisis (…). The first reason is the weakness of all Israeli governmental bodies, other than security forces and the prime minister himself. In Jordan’s case, we are talking about three such organizations: The first is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (…) The second organization is the National Security Council (…). The third body is the Ministry for Regional Cooperation. Over 80 percent of its activity concerns with Jordan. None of these three bodies identified the problem, despite the longlasting Jordanian public and political debate regarding the lease to Israel. (…) I assume that before King Abdullah’s declaration, Israel could have had a discrete dialogue with him and reach a reasonable compromise. The prime minister said (…) that we will negotiate with Jordan, after the Jordanian king had already committed in public not to prolong the lease. This reflects well the typical Israeli way to go about things—to deal with the right issue, but at the wrong time.
Giora Eiland, YED, 25.10.18
4. Selection of Articles
Intermarriage is not the same as assimilation
(…) In the past year, most Jews who married outside Israel married non-Jews. (…) Intermarriage can not be significantly reduced much less stopped. When there is deep love and a desire to share life with someone, especially in the context of globalization and secularization in a liberal country, the question of a partner’s religious or national background becomes marginal. The loving couple will get married. The key to dealing with this widespread phenomenon is to understand that from a national perspective, intermarriage and assimilation are not the same. Assimilation is a condition in which a person loses his identity and national belonging. He does not see himself as part of the Jewish people. (…) By this logic, there are plenty of assimilated Jews who have not married non-Jews. (…) On the other hand, intermarriage can occur while maintaining Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people. You can marry the non-Jewish love of your life without losing your love and ties to Jewish texts, Jewish culture and Jewish heritage. In the time of the Bible, from Moses to King David, such intermarriage was commonplace. (…) if we want to ensure the survival of the Jewish people, we must understand that the task of our generation is not to fight intermarriage, but to help those who choose this path to preserve their identity, and integrate Jewish culture and connection with the Jewish people into their new family life (…), not exclude them from Jewish life, and not insult them.
Lior Tal Sadeh, TOI, 18.10.18
Hebrew university crossed a red line on the Alqasem appeal
(…) The Hebrew University of Jerusalem crossed a red line last week after it joined the judicial appeal against the government’s decision to bar anti-Israel student activist Lara Alqasem from entering the country. (…) The fact that Hebrew University, which receives millions of shekels in government funding, is actively engaging in a legal battle on behalf of Alqasem is very troubling. This is (…) a betrayal of the university’s student body that strives to achieve a higher education and not to be part of an institution seeking to promote a political agenda. (…) The university’s unwillingness to curb anti-Zionist activity within its grounds creates an atmosphere in which students regularly disregard the instructions of security personnel with impunity. (…) With this lack of accountability, it is hardly surprising that there have been three instances over the past 18 months in which swastikas were spray-painted on campus grounds. The unfortunate reality is that for Hebrew University, freedom of expression and pluralism are ideas reserved only for the Left side of the political spectrum. (…)
Eytan Meir, JPO, 17.10.18
A deserved defeat for the thought police
(…) Thankfully, the Thought Police suffered a decisive defeat last week with the Supreme Court’s ruling that American student Lara Alqasem does not pose a danger to the Israeli public’s safety and security. (…) The judges’ verdict casts an important light on the darkness that the Netanyahu government has thrown over Israeli democracy, in which opponents of the government’s policies are immediately branded as enemies of the people. (…) It’s actually staggering how little strategic consideration the Strategic Affairs Ministry gives to its actions. Indeed, until the Supreme Court ruling, all that was achieved in the attempt to deport Alqasem was to further reinforce the image of Israel as a police state in the eyes of the country’s critics. (…) At a time when Israel, rightfully, is fighting pro-Palestinian attempts to boycott Israeli academic institutions, striking back with a counter-boycott aimed at harmless individuals is (…) potentially harmful to Israel’s standing in the international academic community. (…) The pathetic attempt of a country armed (…) with (…) squadrons of the most advanced fighter planes to deport a 22-year-old American master’s degree student on the grounds of endangering the country’s security, should raise serious questions about the Strategic Affairs Ministry judgment, and its huge NIS 130 million budget, spread over three years, to fight the BDS movement. (…) The sooner this ministry is dismantled, and tasks like combating anti-Israel boycott activities are restored to the Foreign Ministry, the better.
Jeff Barak, JPO, 21.10.18
Construction workers in coffins
(…) The lives of construction workers in Israel have been abandoned. Work accidents have become routine. (…) the death of four construction workers within two days interests neither the ministers nor the employers. (…) The most open secret in the construction industry is that workers are the cheapest raw material. Construction company CEOs know that the registrar of contractors won’t revoke their license over an accident, the stock exchange won’t demand any reports from them and the Labor Ministry won’t freeze work at the site for more than 48 hours. In the worst case, they’ll have to pay a fine of around 7,000 shekels (…); that’s the average fine levied in the few cases in which construction companies were indicted. It’s much more cost effective to pay that ridiculous fine for the death of a worker than to invest millions of shekels in scaffolding that meets European standards and safety equipment (…) enforcing the rule that workers wear a harness, regulating cranes and adding a binding safety annex to the state’s construction and infrastructure contracts. These are elementary demands, and the government must accept them. It must also impose serious economic sanctions on executives at construction companies and developers that aren’t careful about safety and on whose watch accidents occur. (…)
Editorial, HAA, 17.10.18
Ignoring the Diaspora is not an option
(…) there is a growing divide between the Israeli Jewish community and our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. (…) we stand at a point in time where the relationship between many Israeli rabbis and Diaspora Jewry is at a historic low. The relationship could be described anywhere between alienation to outright hostility. The reasons that this is so are due in part to ambivalence and in part to ignorance. (…) rabbis are fed by a belief that it is our right and responsibility to dictate the religious nature of the country, and that Jews who don’t live here shouldn’t impact upon how Israelis practice Judaism. The ignorance comes for the most part from that same camp of rabbis, who promote all non-Orthodox Jews as enemies of our people and don’t understand that a Jew deserves to be respected as a Jew regardless of whether he or she is currently observant. (…) Regardless of their level of observance, Jews deserve to be treated with respect, and their commitment to their Jewish identities should not be brushed aside as meaningless. (…)
David Stav, JPO, 21.10.18
Why we should go easy on the Saudi crown prince
(…) One shouldn’t treat any death lightly, particularly not a murder committed by an evil government. However, because of the political ramifications involved, it’s worth contemplating this episode a bit more. (…) this time it’s necessary to treat the suspect with kid gloves. Trump’s peace initiative, if it is ever put on the table, is apparently the direct result of pressure by Mohammed bin Salman, who wishes to legitimize Israel before embarking on open cooperation with it. For 50 years we’ve prayed for a key Arab leader who agrees to sign a significant pact with Israel. Such a leader has finally arrived (…). Anyone waiting for a world of the purely just will have to struggle all his life with the purely evil.
Tzvia Greenfield, HAA, 22.10.18
A game-changing event
The rocket that struck the house in Beersheba was a game-changing event, which obligates Israel and Hamas to decide which way we go from here. The fact that the people living in the house managed to escape the attack unscathed (…) is either a miracle or a model for proper behavior or both. On a practical level, none of this should matter. (…) the rocket strike in Beersheba should be viewed (…) as if it were lethal. This is the only way Israel can prevent the next rocket, which could kill. (…) The latest incident could reveal that Hamas is losing control; which if true could simplify Israel’s dilemma because it won’t have anyone on the other side to trust when it comes to implementing and preserving future agreements – if they are reached. (…) decisions shouldn’t be made out of necessity, but out of choice. It’s still possible, but the sand in the hourglass looks to be running out quickly.
Yoav Limor, IHY, 18.10.18
The cost of Israel’s restraint in Gaza
(…) Israel must not reach an agreement under fire and without first restoring its deterrence. (…)
Over the past six months, Hamas has realized that the Israelis understand only force, and that has been working out nicely for the terror group. If the Israeli reaction doesn’t change (…) the situation would only deteriorate (…) the prime minister, as well as the defense minister, have mostly been busy making threats that turned out to be empty. It were those empty threats that allowed the situation to deteriorate to this level. (…) both the military and political leadership lack the kind of trickery Israel excelled at during Operation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge. In 2008, then-defense minister Ehud Barak ordered to open the Gaza border crossings despite the unending rocket fire, and then the next day he ordered strikes on dozens of Hamas targets. (…) For six months that Netanyahu and Lieberman’s policy of restraint is not working. There’s no reason to believe that if they continue on the same path now, it’ll suddenly start bearing fruit.
Yossi Yehoshua, YED, 18.10.18
There should be no left or right when Jews are massacred in America
There is no Right or Left when assessing the reasons for how the groundwork could have been paved for such a horrendous act as Saturday’s Pittsburgh massacre. (…) there was a sense of experiencing a death in the family. (…) American religious institutions certainly do have to take a long, hard look at the realities and start providing professional protection for their worshipers. It shouldn’t be a political debate, however, but rather one of how to most safely secure innocent people in public places. But it seems like in today’s America, that’s almost impossible. No matter which side of the political spectrum one identifies with, there’s a convenient and convincing argument that cynically exploits the deaths of the Pittsburgh Jews to put forth their own agenda. However, there is no Right or Left when innocent Jews are slaughtered, simply for being Jews. There are only names of victims, who should be mourned and in whose name any person of compassion and moral clarity should forcefully shout out in voice and in action: NEVER AGAIN.
Editorial, JPO, 28.1018
Oman is Israel’s link to the Middle East
(…) The public visit and the royal reception Prime Minister Netanyahu received over the weekend is the result of four months’ work, led by the Mossad. (…) Netanyahu’s visit was scheduled before the Khashoggi assassination, but that terrible event definitely served the sultan’s needs in showing the world that Oman is different. Israel’s possible gain from this visit is threefold: Primarily, Oman can serve as a channel to many countries—including Iran, Qatar and Syria—and is seen by all as an honest broker. (…) Secondly, the hope is that other countries would take courage from this visit and also expose their own covert ties with Israel. Finally, for Netanyahu, exposing the ties with Oman is another layer in his Middle Eastern strategy, which includes creating covert alliances (…) with moderate Sunni nations and movements, in an effort to prevent Iran’s spread throughout the region, as well as undermine Tehran’s regional power, all the while proving that Israel can normalize its ties with Arab nations even without solving the Palestinian issue. There is no doubt Netanyahu’s public trip to Muscat is an important diplomatic achievement, but it’s doubtful it could lead to normalization with many other Arab countries. (…)
Ronen Bergman, YED, 28.10.18
Israel’s very own McCarthy
(…) Our culture minister isn’t trying to pretend that she’s concerned about culture. (…) the right has a well-defined plan. It has decided to fight three fronts by dismantling and reconstructing them in order to make them absolutely loyal (…) media (…) the judicial system (…) the culture front. Here the target is primarily theater and film, since it’s hard to believe that Regev wants to fashion music and dance in her image as well. The so-called loyalty-in-culture bill (…) would enable the minister to deny funding to cultural institutions that, in her opinion, undermine the state and its symbols. (…) the loyalty-in-culture bill allows the culture minister to impose immediate sanctions if he or she believes a performance degrades the flag or the state. (…) The debate is fundamental: Is it possible, in a democratic regime, to subordinate culture to government principles the way the communists and fascists did? The answer is absolutely not. (…) There can be no link between loyalty and culture, because culture by nature often produces content that is defiant and difficult to digest. (…)
Uzi Baram, HAA, 23.10.18
HAA = Haaretz
YED = Yedioth Ahronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: November 2018
Dr Paul Pasch,
Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel