MK Melchior Initiates Legislation for Cultural Considerations in Budget

Propsed 0.5% allocation comes in wake of 15 million NIS culture budget cuts.

Education and Culture Committee Chairman Michael Melchior (Labor) announced that he had initiated legislation that would commit the culture budget to law and prevent what he called "the ritual pilgrimage of artists begging for funding."

The proposal, which was presented in an Education Committee meeting on Wednesday, would see one-half a percent of the national budget allocated to cultural institutions.

The meeting was called in the wake of 15 million NIS in culture budget cutbacks. In attendance were Culture Minister Raleb Majadele, MK Avshalom Vilan and a number of cultural leaders including the head of the Be'er Sheva Theater the artistic director of the Khan Theater.

In addition, a group of cultural leaders sent a letter to the Prime Minister, pointing to an agreement signed by the Culture and Treasury Departments in 2006 to raise the culture budget from 430 million NIS to 445 NIS. The government did not uphold this agreement last year, and this year, from the beginning reduced the agreed-upon increase.

The letter also stated that the culture budget allows for the employment of 100,000 people, the majority of whom are residents of the periphery, and that such cuts will damage their income.