Israel Opera faces savage government cut

Israel Opera faces savage government cut


norman lebrecht

March 08, 2016

The Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, a far-right member of the ruling party, has let it be known she will be inflicting a punitive cut on Israel Opera for not reflecting her nationalist vision for the country.

She’s also planning a hit on the national theatre, Habimah, for representing a leftist agenda.

Israel Opera receives NIS 18 million ($4.6m) in state subsidy. It will be damaged but not disabled by the cut.

miri regev


  • Eddie Mars says:

    Another Nationalist nutter who’s wrongly been handed power, and has proceeded to abuse it.

    Still, loonies like her rarely last long.

    Vita breve, ars longa.

    Mrs Regev is an example of an unwanted Ars.

  • Eddie Mars says:

    Of course, there will be some who will interpret this announcement as confirmation that Israel *does* indeed use culture as a “nationalist vision for the country”.

    We have, in the past, been assured that this wasn’t the case – that it was simply ‘art for art’s sake’.

    But this announcement seems to suggest that any Israeli ensemble in receipt of State funding now, will be conforming to Mrs Regev’s “nationalist vision for the country”.

    That’s really quite a u-turn.

  • esfir ross says:

    Israel minister of culture’s a good follower of Gebbels, Zhdanov, Stalin. Soviet art had to be nationalistic by form and socialistic by content. Now’s slogan the only democratic country in Middle East.

    • Mark says:

      Oh, cut the silly hyperbole. Goebbels, Zhdanov, really ? I suppose she sent somebody to a camp or lectured the Israeli composers on how to write music ? The woman might be a populist, but, unfortunately, most politicians are. I am not sure about her origins, but this sort of an anti-Western attitude is not uncommon among the Sepharfic and Mizrachi Jews in Israel.

      This is, incidentally, the other side of the state support of the arts – if the government pays for it, what’s there to prevent this kind of an interference from an ignorant politician with budgetary powers ?

  • Peter says:

    “You cannot liken the self-taught man [and woman] to the schooled.” ~~ Talmud, Ketubot

  • Anon says:

    The state subsidy for Berlin’s (3.5 mio. inhabitants) operas is about 160 mio. US $ per year.
    Munich spends about 60 mio. US $ for its one opera house, 120 US $ subsidy per ticket sold.

    It seems with a budget of 7 % of what Munich spends for opera, Israel Opera barely can be punished any more than it already is.

  • Alexander Brown says:

    When Daniel Barenboim quoted the Israeli constitution, which promised “to respect all religions”, at the Wolf prize-giving ceremony, this lady lambasted him for politicising the event (to which he replied that he was merely quoting from the constitution!). Now she is politicising the artistic decisions of the Israel Opera with the vicious action of cutting their subsidy – what a hypocrite!

    • John Nemaric says:

      Are you sure Israel has a real constitution? Say for example, like the US has a constitution, etc. I have hear many many times from people who are very well informed about Israel’s political systems that they never sanctioned a constitution because they couldn’t agree on anything. Am I wrong? Please explain. Am I right? Please explain.

      Question: where is Israel’s constitution (if there is one in force as of now) published so I could read it. Thanks.

      • Alexander Brown says:

        Dear Mr. Nemaric, you can find the Israeli constitution in full on the following site:
        The chapter in question is under the title: ‘Basic Law; Human Dignity and Liberty, page 37.

        • Anon says:

          Well, it’s judicially meaningless and void, since a few sentence later the constitution says:

          “There shall be no violation of rights under this Basic Law except by a law befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than is required, or by regulation enacted by virtue of express authorization in such law.”

          Which means by executive decision the constitution can in this human rights aspect be overruled. So in front of a court it is basically toilet paper.

          Also VERY interesting a few sentences further:

          “This Basic Law shall not affect the validity of any law (din) in force prior to the commencement of the Basic Law.”

          Which according to orthodox Jewish scholars means the Talmudic and other ancient Jewish laws are above the constitution…

          • Anon says:

            …which basically means that Israel has no constitution that is worth at least the paper it is printed on.

          • Alexander Brown says:

            Thanks for this! Astonishing!

          • Mark says:

            Israel has a number of Basic (Constitutional) Laws (and not a single-document constitution) similar to the UK. In addition, the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled on a number of constitutional freedoms, such as the freedom of speech and association.

            Constitutional rights are never unlimited (see e.g. the doctrine of prior restraint on the fredom of speech in the US).

            Also, the laws (including the Basic Laws) cannot be retroactive, as per the Israeli Supreme Court ruling. The word “din” as used in legal texts has no religious meaning whatsoever – it simply means any prior legislation or judicial decision.

  • Ben-Amy Einav, Deputy Chairman of th Board Of Directors, Habima National Theatre says:

    Wrong report Mr. Lebrecht concerning Habima National Theatre :
    Minister Regev never, but NEVER, accused Habima for “representing a leftist agenda”.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Habimah, as part of the old Yishuv, is one of her targets for contempt. As you know better than I, she wants to demolish its independence and merge it with another company. She wants, in effect, to erase history – and much of that history was leftwing.

  • 118 says:

    When a moron gets to power……God help us!!!!!

  • esfir ross says:

    Israel doesn’t have constitution-only declaration of independence.

  • Rob says:

    Bad Karma for not playing Wagner