Boycott Backlash at Ariel
A 30-member metropolitan Tel Aviv orchestra performed in Ariel Monday night, ignoring a boycott attempt of Judea and Samaria by leftist actors. The Ra'anana Symphony played at an open air concert in an Ariel park in an end-of-summer event. Accompanying the orchestra were an accordionist and singer.
Ariel Music and Arts Center director Sofi Kushner told Israel National News that the boycott not only has not affected events in the 17,000 citizen city, but it also has sparked inquiries from performers wanting to appear.
A Russian-language play and a children’s performance are scheduled in the coming weeks, and bookings already have been made for November. Several singers and artists have called the theater to ask if they can perform following a letter earlier this week by approximately 30 left-wing performers who said they would refuse to set foot in the new theater in Ariel.
The city is one of the largest in Judea and Samaria and is considered part of the "settlement bloc” that would remain under Israeli sovereignty in any agreement that might be reached with the Palestinian Authority. It has a large industrial area nearby, Barkan, that provides employment for Israelis and thousands of Arab PA residents.
Kadima Knesset Member Ronit Tirosh remarked, “Even the American government and the Palestinian Authority have known for a long time that Ariel will remain part of the State of Israel in any future agreement. The country must not sponsor anyone who supports a boycott of citizens, whether they are outside the country or within Israel."
Five actors already have dropped out of the boycott, saying they made a mistake by signing the letter.
Actress Irit Kaplan said that despite her personal political views she felt she did not have the right to refuse to perform in Ariel, since the theater she works for, the Cameri, is a public institution. Actor Alon Dahan explained he and Kaplan reversed their positions after reading editorials on the artists' boycott.
Another actor said she was misled into believing they were simply signing a request to hold deliberations on the question of whether or not to perform in Ariel.