Friday, February 12, 2016

Israeli parliament rejects bill for proportional funding to Arab culture institutions

The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has rejected a bill, which would require proportional budgeting from the Ministry of Culture to the Arab community. Minister of Culture, Miri Regev stated, “I can't accept such a principle that supports the idea that one-fifth of the population will receive one-fifth of the budget.
Yousef Jabareen.jpg
Yousef Jabareen
The bill, which was submitted by Member of Knesset, Dr. Youssef Jabareen on Wednesday, February 10th, was rejected by a vote of 45 against and 37 for. The bill states that the Ministry of Culture does not equitably allocate funding to the different sectors and that the Arab population should not receive less than 20% which is their percentage of the total population in Israel.
Minister Regev stated that the reasons for her opposition to proposal are that she can't accept the idea that one-fifth of the population would get one-fifth of the budget. The Bill was intended to limit the discretionary power of the Minister over the distribution of funds. It was submitted in response to her initiative to make allocation of funding conditional upon loyalty to the state.
MK Jabareen presented harsh data that was exposed after The Mossawa Center and the Committee of the Heads of Arab local Authorities petitioned for increased funding to the Arab community to close the large gaps between the Jewish and Arab populations. After the submission the court ruled that the Ministry of Culture must conduct mapping on the culture needs in the Arab community. Researcher, Suad Nasser carried out the mapping, which found that 100% of Arab communities have no museums, art schools, or cinemas. In 80% of Arab communities there are no cultural activities. In 92% there is no support for artists from the Culture Administration, and in 72% of Arab communities there are no Palestinian art activities or galleries.
A full report from the mapping was presented to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the Ministry of Culture must submit a plan for the increase of funding to the Arab community.
This plan has yet to be submitted. Currently the Arab community only receives 3% of the Ministry of Culture’s budget.

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