Freedom of expression is an important, even superior value in every democratic country. Of all the democracy-related areas, there is no other issue which has evoked so many debates and legal decisions like the freedom of expression. And rightfully so. We are talking about the air that democracy breathes.
The freedom of incitement and false expression are also included in the freedom of expression. But there is no legal norm, in any civilized country, which requires the state to fund plays written by perverts, murderers or rapists. So Education Minister Naftali Bennett is doing the right thing.
In Israel, people tend to confuse freedom of expression with state funding. Oddly enough, those who use artistic freedom to harm the state think that the state has to fund them for some reason. When the state refuses, they start screaming about “a violation of the freedom of expression.” Who violated? Where exactly is the violation? No one has silenced them.
They want to claim that Israel is a criminal state? Let them make that claim. They want to put on a play inspired by a terrorist, murderer or rapist? Let them do that. But why do they think that Israel’s citizens should fund their hateful words against the state?
The Education Ministry’s Repertoire Committee already decided to include the play “A Parallel Time” in the culture basket once. That was a punch in the stomach of the Tamam family, whose son, Moshe Tamam, was murdered by Walid Daka, the terrorist who inspired the play’s writer.
On Monday, the committee convened again at the minister’s request, after the nature of the play was already clear, and decided to approve it again. A decision with a black flag. A decision which makes it clear that there is a problem with the committee. A decision which appears to point to the fact that more than this is a professional decision, it’s a political decision.
Two people stood out in the battle against the state funding: Ortal Tamam, Moshe Tamam’s niece, and David Magen, a Labor Party activist from the Haifa area. He gained the support of many of his party members. We are talking about a matter of principle, which has nothing to do with the dispute between left and right. That didn’t stop the usual choir from releasing the familiar clichés about a violation of the freedom of expression.
It’s also unclear why those who despise Israel, who show empathy towards the murderer, think that the country they despise should fund them. They are neither progressive nor enlightened. They are hypocritical and spoiled. They want to drink from the well they are spitting in.
It isn’t over. There is a chance that one of these annoying people will run to the attorney general, and maybe to the High Court, in order to cancel the education minister’s decision. For now, at least for now, common sense has won. Let’s hope that the legal echelon doesn’t defeat it once again.
Reprinted with author’s permission from YNet News.com