Minister of Sports and Culture Miri Regev (Likud) has brought her “Loyalty in Culture” bill to the Knesset Education Committee.
The proposed bill, which has already been passed to the Justice Ministry for inspection, determines that financial support for artists or cultural organizations that deface the flag or other national symbols, incite racism, violence or terror will be revoked.
Regev spoke to reporters and said “Miri Regev didn’t invent any new law. I am Miri Regev and I want to make a simple amendment that the Minister in charge of distributing funds can also withhold them. We cannot tolerate a situation wherein I am responsible to distribute public funds, but I cannot withhold them."
"I simply want to regulate an existing law that was decided upon by the governing body of the Knesset.”
Regev stated very matter-of-factly that “the country will not finance any organization or person who burns the flag. Period. Anyone who wishes to undermine the state of Israel may do so, but not on the country’s dime.”
Regev waved off the attacks from the opposition. “Why is there such an outcry? Did I circumvent any laws? No, I have a problem with people who attempt to subvert Israel. I have an even bigger problem with people who use the country’s money to do it.”
Artists as well as MKs from the opposition attacked the proposed bill. MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) said on Tuesday, “Regev’s face is the face of the current government whose ministers are racing against each other trying to see who can bring about the spirit of dark regimes that chase down those who critique them and try to silence that critique.”
“They are attempting to neutralize ideological discussions in Israel and turn anyone who disagrees with them into a traitor. They’ve already succeeded in neutralizing Moshe Ya'alon the ‘scaredy cat,' but thankfully for Israel there are still strong people on the left who they will not be able to scare with their delegitimization tactics. We will continue to fight for our values in spite of the scare tactics, and in spite of being hunted.”
MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) also responded to Regev’s proposed bill and said that “the state of Israel was a free country before Miri Regev and her friends came along, and we will survive them as well. The new political tricks from Likud subvert the foundations of Israeli democracy, of which the freedom of expression and the freedom of creation are the cornerstones. We will fight against these tricks both inside the Knesset as well as outside of it.”