Miki Zohar vows to withdraw funding for artwork ‘defaming Israel’

The new Minister of Culture and Sports, Miki Zohar, vowed on Monday not to fund art works that “defame the State of Israel in the country and around the world.”

Speaking at the handover ceremony alongside his predecessor Chile Tropper, Zohar said no taxpayer dollars would be spent on forms of art and culture that “promote a narrative” against Israel.

“The world of culture and art is the world that represents us as a people, a nation. We will deny financial aid to those who promote the narrative of our enemy and damage the good name of Israel.”

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“Terrorists and martyrs will not be presented as heroes under our control. We will not compromise on ideology,” Zohar added.

The minister, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, said taking the ministry was a ‘dream come true’ and noted that his son Eliav is a musician who recently won a popular music reality show.

“I trained an artist and I was able to learn how the soul of an artist behaves. Therefore, I think that the world of culture will have a minister who can move forward with him,” said Zohar.

Eliav Zohar, center, winner of The Next Star reality show in Rishon Lezion on September 20, 2022. (Flash90)

“I have countless projects and I hope to complete them all.”

“If successful, they will change Israeli culture. We will do everything to provide more and more resources. The funds we currently have are not enough. We need to close the spending gap with the rest of the world. »

Zohar also praised Tropper. “There is no doubt that you will be remembered as an excellent minister of culture and sports. »

In his speech, Tropper clearly pointed to his successor, his predecessor Likud MK Miri Regev, warning against the risk of reigniting previous fights over culture.

“We have proven that respectful behavior is, in my opinion, not only more appropriate, but also more effective. There is no reason for a culture of lies and hate to exist,” Tropper said.

“Don’t rush to fight; there have been quarrels and fights for years. Don’t rush back to him,” he continued.

“The minister has a lot of power and with this position of power you can multiply good or create bad. Man can destroy by force or mend by protective force. »

New Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar, right, with his predecessor Chili Tropper during a handover ceremony in Jerusalem, January 2, 2023. (Yonathan Sindel/Flash90)

“I don’t think we want to live in a country where the Minister of Culture interferes with certain performances,” said Tropper, justifying his refusal to interfere with the musical “Basic Instinct” last summer.

The musical is based on the testimonies of IDF soldiers serving in the West Bank, collected by the far-left group, Breaking the Silence.

“Today it’s me, tomorrow it’s going to be someone else with a different opinion sitting in my shoes,” Tropper said.

Regev, however, did not shy away from intervening in similar cases, defending the cultural loyalty law that allows him to seize state funds for cultural organizations that “operate against the principles of the state.”

Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper on April 6, 2022 in Tel Aviv. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

For his part, the new communications minister, Shlomo Karhi, said on Monday he would put forward plans to “direct the communications market towards a free and competitive market”.

Likud lawmaker Karhi said last month that he supported the closure of the news divisions of Israel’s public broadcaster Kan and Ordu Radio.

“Television should cover everything. We need to allow the different voices that make us who we are to be heard. “There are still voices that are not heard enough in the Israeli media,” said Karhi.

He added that he intends to “strengthen the expansion of the Jewish presence” in the West Bank. “For this, we need to provide them with infrastructure. »

The new minister also said he would work to reverse a decision by his predecessor, Yoaz Hendel, to ease restrictions on “kosher” cell phone plans and open the market to so-called “kosher” lines. authorities and ultra-Orthodox politicians.

“The outgoing minister made a ruling on the use of cell phones in the haredi community — an attempt to interfere with the usage patterns of ordinary citizens,” Karhi said. “I intend to cancel this change in the near future. To implement this policy, I plan to appoint Elad Malka as the new director general of the ministry. »

New Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi arrives for a group photo of the new government at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem on December 29, 2022. (Yonathan Sindel/Flash90)

Malka previously expressed his support for the privatization of Israel’s public broadcaster Kan and even the closure of the Ministry of Communications.

in a published column Makor Rishon last month, “Close the public channel? Malka said that Khan’s problem is not his budget, but “he is destroying the private market”.

Malka is the founder of the lobby group Our Interest – Your Lobby, which calls for more competitive markets in the Knesset. Before that, he was the head of Israel’s Media Watch, which investigates media policies. He was also a member of the Jerusalem council and is considered a liberal in Likud ranks.

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