Bezalel Academy image
Bezalel Academy imageEli Hazan Facebook post

A picture of Benjamin Netanyahu with a hangman’s noose was hung on the wall at the Department of Visual Communications at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.

The poster was not displayed as part of an official exhibition, but apparently at the initiative of a student. It’s not clear at this stage who is behind the act.

Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev (Likud) said in response that “artistic freedom is not freedom to incitement! This started with the statue in Rabin Square, and now it’s a noose. This is using artistic talent to incite murder. If this had been a picture of “Buji’ (Zionist Union Party Chairman Yitzchak Herzog), there would already have been arrests.”

“I call on the Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett: It’s time that you establish a boundary between art and incitement, and suspend Bezalel’s budget,” added Regev.

Eli Hazan, Likud’s Director of External Relations, exposed the picture on his Facebook page, writing, “This is what appeared last night at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. It’s presented as art. Change the name and the picture to be a representative of the left, and it would be presented as incitement.”

Opposition leader and chairman of the Zionist Union, Yitzchak Herzog said: "I utterly condemn the prime minister's image, showing a figure with a noose." He said that "freedom of expression is important and necessary, but there is no place for using it to incite harm against public leaders on the right or the left.”

Bezalel said in response that "the Academy of Art and Design is a protected space for freedom of expression in Israel, and allows students to speak freely, critically and creatively in the range of subjects that engage them. It is still unclear, and we are investigating, if this was part of an exercise for a course or the self-expression of a student, but in any case it is an expression within the framework of the Academy, as part of an ongoing dialogue on design, art and culture, including the issues of proper boundaries, the reproduction of images, and memory. This exercise, whether successful or not, is part of the professional discourse. It was hung up on an interior stair wall of the Academy and was not displayed publicly or as political propaganda, and it should be judged accordingly.”