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Israeli Arts Festival Shows Featuring Nudity Could Lose Funding

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev said that her office would not subsidize two productions featuring nudity at the country’s top arts festival, calling the shows “harmful to the basic values of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

In a letter to Israel Festival director Eyal Sher, Regev said that full nudity, even in the context of artistic expression, was “detrimental to the values of society and its identity.”

The Israel Festival, the largest of its kind in the country, features domestic and international acts. This year, productions from Spain (“And what will I do with the sword?”) and Brazil (“Pindorama”) both feature nudity.

“We state clearly on all marketing material which performances include nudity, specifically because we are sensitive to those who might not be interested in such shows,” Sher said on Thursday. “The public is invited to choose from among a wide variety of renowned shows that will take place over the three-week festival.”

The Culture Ministry was expected to provide approximately 20 percent of the festival’s budget.

Contact Jesse Bernstein at bernstein@forward.com or on Twitter @__jbernstein

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