Miri Regev Caught on Tape Calling Attorney General 'Garbage'

Remarks were made in August, after the culture minister was informed she couldn’t cut arts funding based on content of work.

Culture Minister Miri Regev, second right, with Eitan Cohen, head of the ministry’s municipalities department, far right. at Purim. Image from Facebook.
From Facebook

There is no love lost between Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who was heard on a recording broadcast on Channel 10 Wednesday night referring to Weinstein as “garbage” and his subordinates as “those shits.”

According to the report, the remarks were made in August, after Deputy Attorney Generals Orit Koren and Dina Zilber informed Regev that she could not make ministry funding to cultural institutions and projects conditional on the content of their works.

“Too bad that the attorney general remembered two weeks later to publicize a public that we had two weeks ago," Regev is heard saying. “They did a number on us, those shits.”

She is then heard reading a headline that says, “Weinstein halts Regev’s intervention in culture,” and comments, “He isn’t stopping anything. What garbage.”

The Justice Ministry spokesman did not respond to Regev’s remarks. In her response to Channel 10, Regev said, “The channel approached me for a response to a recording in which harsh things are said about Attorney General Weinstein. I haven’t heard it and I don’t remember that I said that. If they were said, they were said in an angry moment and do not reflect my position or my feelings toward the attorney general, who I admire, respect, and honor.”

The Channel 10 report also revealed parts of the diary of Eitan Cohen, head of the ministry’s municipalities department, that listed a number of Likud activists ostensibly being proposed for various ministry jobs. Some of those named are in a position to help determine who will chair the Likud Central Committee, a role Regev is seeking.

Topping the list, according to the report, is Yigal Amedi, a former Jerusalem deputy mayor, who is expected to be named chairman of the Israeli Council for Culture and the Arts, a statutory body that advises the government and the minister on culture and arts issues. Also named is Dafna Tzuri, the director of the Motzkin Theater in Kiryat Motzkin and the wife of Mayor Haim Tzuri of the Likud, who was mooted to head the ministry’s culture administration. Haaretz has learned that her candidacy has already been nixed by the Civil Service Commission, which deemed her unsuitable. Tzuri told Haaretz that she had withdrawn her candidacy “for personal reasons.”

Also reportedly listed was Likud activist Eli Davidi, who was slated to be an aide to ministry director-general Yosef Sharabi and who, according to the report, has gotten the job. Itay Yifrah, the son of a Likud activist in the south, was listed as a candidate to coordinate support allocations in the ministry.

Likud activists or their associates were also slated to be appointed to public councils, among them Helena Simhi, wife of Leumit Labor Federation head Yoav Simhi; Avihu Sofer, an influential activist from Petah Tikva; Holon Likud activist Yoel Yeshurun, mooted to sit on the Culture and Arts Council, and the head of the Likud faction in the Naamat women’s organization, Ayelet Galili, who was put forward for a position at the Yad Ben-Tzvi Foundation or on the Athena council, which promotes women’s sports. According to the report, the diary had a member of the Azbarga family, Likud activists in Lod, slated for a new position — supervising Palestinian freedom of movement, as per the demand of FIFA, the international soccer association.

According to Channel 10, most of the listed appointments have not yet been made because the candidates are still being evaluated. Many of those on the list contacted by Channel 10 either refused to respond or said they were not aware they were being considered for any position.

Channel 10 also reported on a ministry employee who claimed she was dismissed because she had warned of irregularities in Regev’s bureau, like unjustified overtime payments. The report quoted the protocol of her pre-dismissal hearing, which said, “She was told that they were tired of her righteous persecution,” and that she had “gotten threatening messages that wouldn’t embarrass any crime organization.”

Regev’s office responded that “the employee was fired by the bureau manager and staffing head, who are responsible for the running of the bureau. Her dismissal came after an orderly hearing as required by law.”