Israeli Minister Wants the Flag on Every State Cultural Institution

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Miri Regev, now minister of culture and sport, waving the flag at a women's panel.
Miri Regev, now minister of culture and sport, waving the flag at a women's panel.Credit: Amir Avramovich

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said Wednesday she wants every state cultural institution from repertory theaters to soccer stadiums to fly an Israeli flag.

“Israel’s 68th Independence Day and Memorial Day obligate us to safeguard the state’s values and symbols,” Regev said in a statement.

“It is unacceptable for the flying of the flag at cultural institutions and sports facilities built by the state to be up to this or that person. The institutions that Israel builds should proudly display its flag.”

Regev said the blue and white would even fly at places like the soccer stadium in Sakhnin, a largely Arab city in the north. During a game against Beitar Jerusalem in 2014, police banned flags from the stadium to avoid clashes, but Beitar fans smuggled in Israeli flags, while Sakhnin fans sneaked in Palestinian flags.

Regev’s aides say it’s unclear whether legislation is needed for her plan, or whether it can simply be made a requirement for obtaining funding.

This plan is the latest move in Regev’s “freedom of funding” idea. In January, she submitted a bill saying that any cultural institution that abuses state symbols or treats Independence Day as a day of mourning would not be entitled to public funding.

Each May 15, marking the day after Israel was formed in 1948, many Palestinians and Israeli Arabs commemorate the Nakba the fleeing or expulsion of more than 700,000 Arabs from their homes during Israel’s War of Independence.