JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev was booed by the audience at the opening of the Israel Festival in Jerusalem in the wake of threats to withhold funds from performances that feature nudity.
Regev was booed for several minutes, and many in the audience turned their back on her while she spoke.
The festival, showcasing dance, music, drama and performance theater from Israel and around the world, runs through June 18. It is in its 56th year.
On Tuesday, Regev, of the ruling Likud Party, sent a letter to the Festival warning that her office would not fund any performances that included full frontal nudity, calling such displays “detrimental to the basic values of the Israeli public and Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” She also said it hurts the feelings of the wider public.
“The state’s budget cannot be used for activities that harm society’s values and identity,” Regev wrote.
Regev has previously threatened to withdraw funding from Israeli artists who are critical of Israel or support the Palestinian cause.