Skip to main content

Is Israel's culture minister drunk with power?

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev is fond of reminding artists and cultural institutions that she has the power to determine their fate, including withholding funds if they fail to meet her standards of patriotism.
Likud legislator Miri Regev, a former brigadier general and political hardliner of Moroccan origin, looks out a car window during a campaign stop in Netanya, north of Tel Aviv February 25, 2015. Israel's Sephardic community, Jews of Middle Eastern descent, have traditionally been the Likud party's backbone. But political analysts say Sephardim, disproportionately poorer than Israel's Ashkenazi Jews with roots in Europe, may throw their support elsewhere in the March 17 election, angry over the high cost of

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev came well prepared to her first meeting with representatives of Israeli cultural institutions on June 11. Regev, on a collision course with “left-wing artists” since her first day on the job, arrived accompanied by legal advisers and driven by a clear goal — to show this group of leftists who's the new boss.

A day before, Regev had been at the eye of the storm after threatening to withhold funds from the Almina Theater, established by Arab actor Norman Issa with his Jewish wife, for as long as he continued to refuse for political reasons to appear in the Jordan Valley. “The pressure being applied on me borders on blackmail,” Issa wrote on his Facebook page. “Don’t make me go against my conscience in order to remove this threat.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.