Call to Cut Funding to Theater for 'Nazi IDF' Play

Councilman urges Jerusalem city council to pull funds from Khan Theater over play he says compares Nazis to IDF soldiers.

Benny Toker ,

IDF soldiers (illustration)
IDF soldiers (illustration)
Flash 90

Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King contacted the rest of the members of the Jerusalem city council on Tuesday morning, calling for the capital's municipality not to fund any institution, organization or individual person who acts directly or indirectly against the state of Israel or any of its official branches.

Specifically, King called to cut off the municipal funding for the Khan Theater in Jerusalem, which he accuses of running a play based among other things on a comparison between the genocidal Nazis on the one hand and IDF soldiers on the other, and is likewise based on anonymous and allegedly false "testimony" of soldiers gathered by the radical anti-Israel NGO Breaking the Silence.

King told Arutz Sheva on Tuesday that "all members of the city council need to vote against the funding of the Khan Theater, because we aren't interested in funding the delegitimization trip of our enemies."

He detailed the play which focuses on the Hebrew poet Abba Kovner, who was a hero of the Vilna Ghetto and a member of the partisans in their fight against the Nazis.

In the play a conversation between Kovner and his son Amos appears, in which the son who serves in the IDF reserves tells his father about an officer who for no reason abused a Palestinian Arab child until the child died, and makes a comparison to the war crimes of the Nazis.

"A play like this isn't worthy of being shown on stage, particularly in the city of Jerusalem," said King. "From my familiarity with residents of the city, there's no chance that residents of this city which has mourned more of its sons than any other city are interested in funding a play like this."

"It cannot be that the municipality will fund a theater that puts on a play in which there are elements that compare IDF soldiers and Nazis," he added. "I hope that there will be a majority in the city council against funding the theater."

Speaking about the theater in particular, he noted, "by the way I'm not surprised that it's the Khan Theater, the same theater that gave a stage for a show on the radical leftist activist...who was killed while disrupting IDF activities and was run over by a bulldozer," in a reference to Rachel Corrie.

In response to King's call, the Khan Theater said in a statement, "we are surprised by this statement because from it it becomes clear that the councilman didn't see the play and doesn't know what it's about. The play 'Yehezkel,' which is running now on the Khan Theater stage, is based on an illustrated novel by Michael Kovner inspired by the figure of his father, the Holocaust survivor poet Abba Kovner."

"The play has warranted much praise from the public and critics. In one of the scenes in the play an argument takes place between Yehezkel and his son who decides to leave Israel, and in it two different viewpoints of the father and his son are presented without any position taken. We invite the councilman to watch the play."