Jaffa Theatre Files Complaint After Hackers Attack Website, Accuse Group of Supporting Terrorism

The theater is the subject of a number of complaints by the Ministry of Culture that claim performances violate the 'Nakba law' stipulating the removal of funding for organizations that commemorate the Nakba

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Jaffa Theater director, Yigal Ezrati.
File photo: Jaffa Theater director, Yigal Ezrati.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
Yair Ashkenazi
Yair Ashkenazi

The Jaffa Theater filed a complaint with the police on Thursday after hackers targeted the organization's website leaving messages on the homepage saying that the theatre group was anti-Israel and supported terrorism.

Last month, the Ministry of Culture submitted a number of complaints against recent performances that had been held at the theater which it said violated the 'Nakba law.' The law states that the finance minister may cut the funding of any institution that marks Nakba Day, the commemoration held by Palestinians and Israel's Arabs on Israel’s Independence Day to mark their losses in 1948.

The director of the theater, Yigal Azrati, told Haaretz that the hackers removed a number of events from the theater's schedule, including an event last Wednesday that was held for the release of the Palestinian poet Darin Tattour – the subject of one of the Ministry of Culture's complaints.

"They removed events that seemed offensive to the country, including the screening of a Palestinian film," Azrati added. The attack on the website also blocked the option of purchasing tickets performances, he said.

Another performance held at the theatre which has attracted the ire of the Ministry of Culture is "The Confession," a play by Moti Lerner that has been part of the theater's repertoire for about a year.

The Finance Ministry's legal advisor has not yet submitted his opinion regarding the complaints. However, in a letter he sent this week to the Director-General of the Ministry of Culture he clarified that any reduction in funding can be made only after the event and not in advance, and that a full hearing would be held in each case wherein both parties would have to opportunity to present their positions.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit decided that the authority to withdraw funding from cultural institutions for violating the “Nakba Law” will remain with the treasury and not be transferred to the Ministry for Culture as Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev had hoped.

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