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“After the addition to the cinema budget that Culture Minister Miri Regev managed to reap on voting day for the new cinema bill – which pulled the rug out from under the media’s attack – all the energy is going to a major assault on the so-called cultural-loyalty bill. Writers, artists and politicians competed last week in labeling the bill a sign of fascism that will send Israeli democracy into the heart of darkness.
It began with a description of the bill – by Maya Asheri in Haaretz’s Hebrew edition – as “a harsh blow against the world of culture in particular, and against all Israelis.” This went on to actor Oded Kotler’s description of Regev’s efforts as “indecent acts,” and ended with actress Gila Almagor’s “fooya” (“that’s disgusting”).
But the truth is somewhat less dramatic. Since the dimming of the splendor of absolute monarchy, the traditional patron of the arts, there have been two main models of the relationship between art and the state, each favoring a different level of support, supervision and monitoring.
In the United States, one of the world’s great democracies, the government in principle does not support art, save for a few exceptions. The principle of a free market also applies to the art world: Art is paid for by its consumers. That’s exactly why columnist Uzi Baram’s headline in Haaretz last month, “Israel’s very own McCarthy,” mixes apples and oranges; the piece points out the presumed similarity between Regev and Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."
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"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."
"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."
"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."
"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."
"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."
"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."
"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."