Katif Evacuees Take on 'Permissive' Boombamela Alternative Culture Fest

Gush Katif evacuees living in the southern coastal community of Nitzan want this year's Boombamela Festival of music and alternative culture to be canceled, due to what they consider its overly permissive character.

Festival organizers responded they do not intend to compromise the event's "artistic freedom."

"May God save us," says Nitzan resident Meir Yirmi. "I have no words to describe how I feel about this thing. We'll discuss the matter with the Hof Ashkelon regional council. We have to do everything - everything - to prevent this filth and infiltration."

"When we came to live here they told us it was only temporary, but it's gone on for several years. We won't accept this - we'll try to cancel this event. We have to speak out to prevent this abomination," he says.

Rabbi Eldad Sharabi, the community's rabbi and a lecturer at Hemdat Hadarom teachers' college, adds, "During Passover we have to be glad ... The Jewish people needs to maintain the balance between body and soul. We must not remain indifferent to these phenomena, it's against all of our values."

Most of Nitzan's residents wear skullcaps, and say the festival's events run counter to their way of life. "I think this is a problematic event, particularly when it is close to home," says resident Aharon Hazut.

"I really hope the municipality tries to cancel these events and to conform to the population living here. I won't let my kids go there. This is clearly a temptation to our children and young people, and it would be better if it weren't held at all."

Rabbi Yigal Kaminsky said nudist activity taking place at the festival reminds him of "beasts," and that "the permissiveness there can lead to many family problems. We need different values. I see this as anarchy - what are we, animals who go around without clothes? If we want a healthy generation and a healthy nation, we must put a stop to this filth. But as much as this bothers me, we have no control over it. This event aggravates and infuriates us."

Festival organizers say this year's happening will allow participants to determine the events on offer, and that organizers will not interfere in its "artistic freedom."

"The festival has been held for 11 years straight. This year we decided participants would set the festival's content virtually, without our involvement. We will serve as a platform for creativity," says Boombamela director Guy Peleg.

"Boombamela remains committed to pluralism and freedom of expression, and to that end we already have songs from [ultra-Orthodox songwriter Shlomo] Carlebach, a Chabad synagogue, a Hare Krishna facility and a nudist beach," he says. "Any agenda that does not include racism and violence is acceptable to us."