MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli
MK Shuli Moalem-RefaeliGershon Elinson

MK Shuli Muallem (Jewish Home) has asked Culture Minister Miri Regev to dismiss Shimon Bouzaglo, a writer who is a member of the Culture Ministry's Literature Section, following statements he made in an interview with Haaretz.

Bouzaglo said that "'a right-wing artist' is an oxymoron," and that art cannot spring up from the "periphery" – as Israelis refer to areas outside of the large cities and greater Tel Aviv.

"I read with amazement at the week's end Shimon Bouzaglo's infuriating statements, that no culture can come from right wingers and residents of the periphery," Muallem wrote Regev. "In and of themselves, these statements constitute arrogance and lack of cultural understanding. But the fact that Mr. Bouzaglo is a member of the Literature Section of the Culture Ministry makes them a serious matter, which cannot pass without a response."

Muallem demanded to know: "Is there no art and culture among the right-wing people who constitute a majority in the state of Israel? Was the state of Israel not blessed with musicians, writers and other artists who live in the periphery? If one accepts his benighted statement, of the kind that was typical of the first years of the Mapai government (the socialist party under David Ben Gurion, ed.), there is no place for an artist like (comedian) Sefi Rivlin z"l, who passed away exactly two years ago. There is no room for Naomi Shemer and her songs, which became part and parcel of Israeli culture.

"Mr. Shimon Bouzaglo apparently believes that an artist who does not live the bohemian lifestyle like him and who does not have the same political views, is not an artist," Muallem continued. "A person like this, who holds benighted and elitist views, is not worthy of being a part of the literary committee in the Culture Ministry of the state of Israel. A person with this kind of world view cannot properly evaluate literature and art. I therefore call on you to dismiss him from the committee."