Cultural Loyalty Law Passes First Reading

YERUSHALAYIM -

At the end of an acrimonious debate, the Knesset plenum approved on first reading Monday the Cultural Loyalty Law, which would deny public funds to cultural programs that promote incitement and subversion.

The bill, sponsored by Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud), passed by a vote of 55 to 44, and will now go to committee for review prior to final debate and voting.

The stormy Knesset session degenerated into heckling and name-calling, principally between Likud and Zionist Camp MK’s.

“The law redefines the boundaries of what is permitted and forbidden, that which is fitting and a disgrace in the cultural institutions that are supported by public funds. Yes to freedom of expression, yes to dissent; no to incitement against the state of Israel with public monies,” declared Regev.

In response to the opposition MKs, who accuse Regev of seeking to become a cultural czar and suppress freedom of speech, she asked, “What do you want, that they should burn the flag and I should pay for it?

“There is a sign here, ‘Stop — incitement ahead,’ at the expense of the public coffers. This is not Right nor Left, but logic.”