The Israeli government has in recent days taken unprecedented action of cutting government funding to theaters promoting extremism and terrorism – and in particular glorying acts of terrorism against Israelis and promoting sympathy with their perpetrators.
Both Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) and Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) have taken the lead in preventing taxpayers’ money from being used to fund such activities. Most recently, following a meeting with bereaved families of terror victims, Regev announced she would be cutting all government funding to one of the institutions at the center of the storm: the Al Midan Theater in Haifa.
Al Midan sparked controversy after it was revealed to be hosting a play glorifying Walid Daka, the terrorist who abducted and murdered 19-year-old IDF soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva shortly after the meeting, Yossi Tzur – a leading activist in the Almagor terror victims rights group and a resident of Haifa himself – praised Regev’s decisive action, and stressed that the issue was not one of “censorship,” despite efforts by many leftist actors and pundits to portray it as such.
“It was a good meeting.
“We are very satisfied of the conclusion to stop all funding of the Al Midan theater,” he said, describing it as a “terror-supporting theater that is working against the State of Israel.”
But Yossi – whose son Assaf was murdered in a terror attack – emphasized that no one was actually trying to stifle free expression or ban the play itself.
“We are not for censorship… but we are against paying them any money from the Israeli taxpayer,” he said.
Tzur added that by hosting plays which lionize terrorist murderers, Al Midan and others are breeding support for violent extremism and are “encouraging terrorism by doing so.”
He explained to Arutz Sheva that his activities – and those of Almagor as a whole – were not just a matter of principle opposing such glorification of terrorism is in fact key to ending the incitement which fuels it, he insisted.
He says that while he can never get his son’s life back: “I want to make sure they don’t succeed again.”