Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) announced that he had removed a play that depicted IDF soldiers as war criminals from the taxpayer-funded 'Culture Basket'.
The play, titled 'The Confession', was performed at Jaffa Theatre and was based on an alleged massacre of residents of the Arab village of Tantura in 1948 by IDF soldiers. In advertisements, the production wrote that the play was "inspired by the dispute among Israeli historians about the possibility that during the occupation IDF soldiers massacred the residents of the village".
Bennet said that he had decided to remove the play from the 'Culture Basket' - a list of taxpayer-funded productions that are shown to Israeli High School students because he did not want the play to lower the steadily-dropping motivation of Israelis willing to serve in the IDF.
In addition, Bennett blasted the producers of the play for basing it on research by then-MA candidate Teddy Katz, a University of Haifa student who argued that Israeli soldiers murdered 240 Arabs in the town of Tantura during the War of Independence. After the soldiers who Katz cited in the study sued Katz for libel, Katz retracted his claims and an investigatory board ruled that he had invented the entire story.
"After checking and re-checking the evidence, it is clear to me now, beyond any doubt, that there is no basis whatsoever for the allegation that the Alexandroni Brigade, or any other fighting unit of the Jewish forces, committed killing of people in Tantura after the village surrendered" Katz had written.
"On Thursday I ordered the removal from the culture basket of a play that would describe a massacre that did not happen during the War of Independence in Tantura," wrote Bennett on Facebook. "A court ruled that the "researcher" Teddy Katz had fabricated a false plot and as a result, he retracted his lies."
"It is quite amazing that there are people who bother to fabricate lies against the IDF and Israel.
In any event, from this moment on, the false play will not be funded by the Ministry of Education."