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Culture minister probes troupes that shun settlements

Israel’s polarizing culture minister has dispatched a contested questionnaire to theaters and dance troupes to find out whether they are performing in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a first step toward changing regulations to will allow her to penalize cultural institutions that refuse to perform there.

Miri Regev’s office says Wednesday she is proud to lead a “revolution” that shuns boycotts and makes culture accessible to all Israeli citizens. Critics, however, say it’s politicizing the art world and impinging artistic freedom.

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev speaks to press in Jerusalem, August 31, 2015. Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev speaks to press in Jerusalem, August 31, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

 

Israeli artists, like their counterparts worldwide, tend to lean liberal, and have long been some of the country’s most vocal critics of the settlements.

In the circulated document, various artistic institutions are asked whether they have refrained from performing in the northern and southern peripheries of the country as well as in West Bank settlements.

Regev has said these results will influence the organizations’ future government funding.

“Minister Regev is leading a policy of incentivizing state-supported cultural institutions to perform in the periphery and Judea and Samaria, based on a view that culture is a basic right of all citizens,” her office says in a statement.

AP

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