Museums in Judea and Samaria are now “legal,” as far as the State is concerned. On Monday, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat announced that her Ministry would supply funds for museums in the lands liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.
The money will be granted to a new agency called the Judea and Samaria Museum Council, which will be responsible for existing and new museums of all types in Judea and Samaria. The Council was established after the IDF issued an order to extend the Museum Law – a Knesset law that regulates funding of museums – to Judea and Samaria.
Judea and Samaria is still legally “administered territory,” Israeli law does not apply to it (as opposed to Israeli citizens who live in Judea and Samaria, to whom Israeli law does apply), and any funding or establishment of institutions must be approved by the military government.
Livnat has long been pushing for that order to be signed. As a result, museums in Judea and Samaria will now be eligible for millions of shekels in funding. The Council will be made up of officials from museums across the country, as well as officials from museums in Judea and Samaria. Livnat's office said that all the institutions the Minister asked to join the Council agreed, except for two, who said that they would not participate in a Council that funded museums in the region.
The move drew sharp criticism from leftists, who slammed the funding of museums in “occupied territories.” But Livnat rejected those arguments.
“The State is obligated to provide residents of Judea and Samaria with the same services it does to other Israelis,” Livnat said in an interview. “It's only fair that museums in the region get the same support as museums in the rest of the country,” she added. “With the establishment of the Council, we have put an end to the injustice and discrimination against museums in Judea and Samaria.”