An Israeli artist erected a statue of Culture Minister Miri Regev outside the national theatre “to protest her bid to cut state funding to artistic bodies she deems unpatriotic”, reported Reuters.
Itay Zalait put up the statue in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square yesterday, showing Regev “wearing a flowing white dress and facing a large mirror”.
On Monday, the Israeli parliament gave preliminary approval to legislation that would enable Regev’s ministry to reduce or cancel state grants to institutions whose works “contravene the principles of the state”. The bill requires two further readings to become law.
The legislation “targets artistic endeavours which the culture ministry judges as denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state, supporting incitement to ‘violence or terrorism’ or desecrating the Israeli flag or national symbols”, Reuters added.
“This is our fight and we can never know … if [we] could do it in a couple years from now,” said Zalait, adding that artists needed “to come out of the museums” and bring their works directly to the public.
Regev, meanwhile, responded on Twitter by referring to the looking glass placed in front of her statue and claiming it was the artistic community that was in need of self-reflection: “For the past three years, I have indeed dealt many times in holding a mirror up to the Israeli cultural world.”
Two years ago, Zalait placed a gilded statue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dubbed “King Bibi” by the sculptor, in another Tel Aviv square.