Skip To Content
Breaking News

Israel Imposes Penalties on Cultural Groups That Shun West Bank Settlements

— In a step critics say amounts to a political litmus test stifling free expression, Israel’s culture minister is collecting information about which theater and dance troupes perform in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Miri Regev, of Likud, said Wednesday she circulated a questionnaire on the topic because she is proud to lead a “revolution” against boycotts, The Associated Press reported.

The questionnaire sent out Monday by a firm working on behalf of the culture ministry is, according to Haaretz, related to new funding criteria Regev announced in April.

Under the new criteria, the ministry will cut by 33 percent government funding for institutions that do not perform in West Bank settlements, the Negev or the Galilee. The new policy, which will be applied for this year’s funding decisions, also offers a 10-percent bonus in funding for institutions that perform in settlements.

“Minister Regev is leading a policy of incentivizing state-supported cultural institutions to perform in the periphery and Judea and Samaria, based on a view that culture is a basic right of all citizens,” her office said in a statement, using the biblical names for the West Bank.

Israel’s High Court of Justice is scheduled to hear a petition by the Cultural Institutions Forum asking it to delay implementation of the new criteria.

Choreographer Noa Dar, founder and director of a dance group bearing her name, told Haaretz that the policy “is essentially a demand to tie my political opinions and my conscience to ministry funding. This is an anti-democratic act.”


I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.