Filmmakers should sign pledge not to insult Israel, army for state-funded productions: culture minister

Filmmakers should sign pledge not to insult Israel, army for state-funded productions: culture minister
Israel's culture minister wants filmmakers who receive state funding to not insult the country or military.
2 min read
17 January, 2023
Zohar (c) was appointed culture minister by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (r) [Getty]

Filmmakers in Israel should sign a pledge promising not to insult Israel or the army in state-funded productions, the country's culture minister has said.

Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar said the Israel Film Council should require applicants for funding to pledge that their films will not contain "anti-Israeli" messages.

"[They should] sign a document that they undertake not to produce content that harms the State of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF. This is the condition for funding," he said in an interview with Ynet, using the official acronym for Israel's military.

"In the end, the public will decide whether they come to see a film or not, but we will not compromise on the financing issue. We will not fund offensive content against IDF soldiers and the State of Israel."

He said that while filmmakers can continue to make movies critical of Israel, the state will not fund them.

It comes after the Likud lawmaker slammed Israeli filmmaker David Wachsmann's documentary 'Two Kids a Day', which explores Israel's horrific treatment of children detainees in the occupied West Bank.

Human rights groups and others have condemned Israel's treatment of Palestinian child detainees

Zohar asked Israel's new far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich to look into reclaiming state money used to produce the film, which is named after the 700 Palestinian children put behind bars by Israel - equalling two a day.

"The Ministry of Culture and Sports under my leadership will not finance works that harm the good name of the State of Israel, both in Israel and in the world," Zohar said, according to local media.

There are fears the proposed funding ban will disproportionately affect 1948 Palestinian, who have experienced racism and discrimination at the hands of the Israeli state and society.

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Film and the arts have been powerful tools used by Palestinians and their allies to highlight Israeli abuses, including the film Farha which includes Palestinian citizens of Israel in its cast.

Zohar is known to be a firm opponent of Palestinian statehood and is part of Israel's most far-right government in its history.

Israeli forces have killed 15 Palestinians in the West Bank so far in 2023 and the government has also banned the Palestinian flag.

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