Deputy A-G Hit Over Disloyalty to Disloyalty Bill

YERUSHALAYIM -

A senior government official’s job was on the line Tuesday after publicly criticizing the proposed Cultural Loyalty Bill.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that deputy attorney general Dina Zilber had disqualified herself from serving in her position after suggesting that the bill would suppress freedom of speech, The Times of Israel reported.

Zilber told a session of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee Tuesday, that such legislation “poses real difficulties” and that investing Culture Minister Miri Regev with authority to deny funding to cultural programs that she deems subversive would create “a cooling and self-censoring effect.”

She went on to say that “These are not simple days and they are bringing us not only new laws but new words. … confrontational dialogue, wounding, scarring our shared social fabric, labeling and branding — who is for us and who is against us,” she said.

“If there’s someone who is loyal, so is there someone who is a traitor,” she added, intimating that the right wing is seeking to divide the country further.

Shaked informed Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that she expects Zilber to be removed, but it’s unclear whether she can make the demand stick.

In a letter to Mandelblit, Shaked charged that Zilber “exceeded her authority and crossed every line.”

“It is clear from Zilber’s repeated actions that she does not wish to act in accordance with the instructions of the Civil Service Authority, the directives of the Attorney General (or any other basic rule of proper administration that is obvious to all without being written down). It is also clear that she does not wish to act as a legal advisor in a professional and honest manner,” notes Shaked in her letter as quoted by Arutz Sheva.

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) seconded Shaked, calling her to resign her post.

At the abovementioned committee meeting, Gamliel wrote, “Deputy Attorney General Zilber will be happy to know that there will soon be elections in 2019. You’re invited to resign and run for Meretz or the Joint (Arab) List.” (Among other offenses, the law would cancel funding for those who declare Israeli Independence Day a day of mourning for the Arabs.)