Josef Olmert

Even Miri Regev can be right…sometimes

Miri Regev, the new Minister for Cultural Affairs and Sport is one of those politicians who thrive on conflict, controversy and media buzz. She definitely is no exception among Israeli politicians, who, maybe with few exceptions, believe that no news is bad news… but Minister Regev has developed the idea that she should be in the news at almost all cost into a real art. She clearly is her own best strategic/P.R advisdor.

She is a Likud minister, originally from Kiryat Gat, one of those peripheral towns which are the backbone of the Likud electorate, of Moroccan origin and a retired Major General in the IDF [former IDF spokesperson]. Suffice it with that to understand, that she is NOT the favorite daughter of large parts of the Israeli Left Wing. Regev though does not care much about the Left Wing, why should she? If the Likud voters, among whom she is so popular, are a flock of cud-chewers as the self-styled iconic figure Oded Kotler describes them, why does she , or any Likud voter, should care about them?

Yet, Regev is a minister of all of the Israeli citizens, even of the dwindling and ever noisy Left Wing, Jews and Arabs. So, whether she likes the Left Wing or not is out of the story, and promotion of and support for Israeli culture is THE story. But what is this story? Everywhere in the Western world, artists are the first to be anti-establishment, and in most cases, their opposition to the establishment, particularly their opposition to political interference by the establishment leads them to reject, in fact, to despise any form of governmental financial support.

This is in Western democracies, and it was not like that in the old Soviet system, where the almighty PARTY gave the orders and the money , and the artists followed suit. Surely, the Israeli Left Wing artists have nothing to do with the old Soviet system, or maybe they do and how. After all, the Communist M.K Dov Hanin is one of their heroes, a newly -discovered champion of freedom of speech[what a joke…Communist and freedom of speech]. So, many of the artists believe that the state is obliged to sponsor them financially, as was in the good old days in Moscow, but they, these heroic fighters of freedom of expression, are obliged to vilify the state they want to live on its handouts, moreover ,support those which boycott the state, and actively encourage this boycott.

Crazy, I think, but who knows, maybe these artists are right believing that the state should support those who want to destroy it, as , after all, so many of these artists are so full of themselves, so sure of themselves. Maybe they know something that ordinary people, especially those who are ”cud chewers” do not. I , for one, do not think so, and much more importantly, Miri Regev does not think so, and she is SO right.

The state of Israel Ministry of Culture should not do two things; First, it SHOULD NOT engage in any cultural censorship. Second, it should not give even one Shekel of public money to those who are opposed to the very existence of the state, those who praise murderers of soldiers, those who call for a total boycott of Israel.

Let them say and do whatever they want[not violating though any law], but then, let the public judge them, and one of the criteria by which this judgement takes place is through elections. If the Israeli public will be suicidal enough to vote them in, then they will subsidize themselves to self-destruction, but Miri Regev was not elected to do that, and she HAS to stop immediately any financial support to the enemy from within, and at the same time , to stop meddling in the contents of what shown in Israeli theaters.

In fact, the entire ministry is redundant. Cultural life are not the affair of the government. They are the affair of the performers and their audiences, among them those in Kiryat Gat, for example.

Here is where is the root cause of the Jihad against Regev. Many in the Left Wing do not consider Kiryat Gat to be part of their world. They do not like the culture of these people, mostly of Moroccan origin. In fact, they despise it, and for them, the notion of a Minister of Culture from Kiryat Gat is an aberration. In one word it is called RACISM. Pure and simple. When adding this racist approach to the opposition of many of these artists to the very existence of a Zionist and Jewish state, we understand what is REALLY happening. Miri Regev is just the scapegoat, one of ”THEM”, not one of”us’.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina