Kiryat Arba culture hall - Emil Salman - 20092011
The opening of the Kiryat Arba culture hall on Monday. Photo by Emil Salman
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A festive brochure distributed on Monday to patrons of Kiryat Arba's culture hall featured a photograph of actor Rami Baruch, the star of the play "Pollard" who has publicly refused to perform in the West Bank town. Yet local council head Malachi Levinger did not appear to be troubled by the actor's refusal to appear; he is focused on using the new facility to bring several productions to Kiryat Arba.

Guests streamed into the theater protected by a heavy Israel Defense Forces security detail. Present in the audience was Minister Silvan Shalom, who allocated NIS 1.5 million for the facility from funds designated for the development of the Negev. Also present was Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who was introduced to the crowd as a senior politician who "helped ensure that Kiryat Arba would receive funds" for the culture hall.

Settlers in Kiryat Arba noted that the opening of the facility has heightened importance in light of the Palestinians' statehood bid. They view the culture hall as a clear Zionist response to a Palestinian challenge, and claim that the theater makes the statement that "we are here, and this is our homeland."