'Terror Play' Saga Continues
Victim's Family Demand Their Voice be Heard

Family of Moshe Tamam push to attend emergency meeting on freedom of speech, after Bennett cut funding for play on Tamam's killer.

Cynthia Blank ,

Flash 90

Israel's Cultural Institutions Forum said it would convene an emergency meeting regarding freedom of speech on Sunday after cabinet ministers imposed sanctions on two Israeli Arab theaters. 

According to a Channel 2 report on Thursday, the family of IDF soldier Moshe Tamam has requested to speak at the emergency meeting, but claims that its petition has so far been ignored. 

Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Tuesday that he was removing the play "A Parallel Time, on the life of the terrorist who murdered Tamam in 1984, from the ministry's culture basket. This means that the play will not receive government subsidies, but can be produced with private funding and raise money through selling tickets.

When the culture basket committee stated the Al-Midan Theater's play was not harmful, Bennett fired back: "I'm education minister and a play that portrays tolerance to the murder of soldiers guarding over me is not education."

"Israeli citizens won't fund plays tolerant of the murder of soldiers," he added.  

The backlash to Bennett's decision was swift with committee members threatening to resign and Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon asserting Israel was "deteriorating to fascism."

Ortal Tamam, niece to the slain soldier, spoke about the controversy and the upcoming meeting with Channel 2  on Thursday. 

"We wish to come and talk to them. They have decided to hold an event in the name of pluralism and freedom of speech, and part of that freedom is us wanting to come and speak," Tamam asserted. 

"Their silence is deafening. We turned to them and haven't received an answer," Tamam said, noting that "we turned to them both personally and publicaly and I think that an event on freedom of speech should also give us the chance to express ourselves."

"We hope they will agree willingly, and if not, we will weigh our options," Tamam added. 

Tamam explained that if she and her family are given the platform to speak, she will emphasize to members of the Cultural Institutions Forum how the play has traumatized her family. 

"They seek freedom of expression, and so do we. They have created a meeting to represent all artists. Artists in Israel should know that their heart has an impact and therefore we want them to give in to the calls of the public that they be connected to them."

"We want to clarify to them the importance of the issue for us and the impact the incident has had on our family, so they know how we feel," Tamam concluded. 

Itamar Gurvich, chairman of the Cultural Institutions Forum told Channel 2 that he has not yet made a decision on whether to allow the family to attend, but promised they would receive an answer on Thursday.