The Occupation - Coming to a Theater Near You

Culture Minister Miri Regev has no room for people with a conscience.

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev. June 8, 2015.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev. June 8, 2015. Credit: Tal Meir
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

“Hooray for the tyrant who subdues the girl with her eyes lined in blue,” Mahmoud Darwish wrote. Today, 48 years into the occupation, we have another instance of total submission. Mabruk to Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who subdued the children of the Elmina Theater in Jaffa with the thrust of an ultimatum. They will put on their show, you bet they will, to entertain and amuse the lords of the occupied Jordan Valley.

By the way, that poem by Darwish has to do with another situation entirely, but the content is similar. The significant difference is that Darwish was only talking about Palestinian children, while Minister Regev brings in Jewish children as well. Whoever doesn’t go along with the tyrant’s orders, will pay the price. In that matter, the minister believes in the brotherhood of man.

Until now our morally upright artists sat in their air-conditioned theaters with their kindly audiences and from time to time popped overseas, talked like cultured people with their colleagues about freedom, individualism and other such moral issues, while in their own backyard the stench is unbearable. Well, that’s all over and done with! Minister Regev has decided that whether you live in Tel Aviv, Haifa or even Nazareth, she will bring the occupation home to you. It will play with your children, caress your face, and when the time comes, it will relieve itself in your living room.

After all, what’s this story with Norman Issa? It turns out that he was not demonstrating, perish the thought, against the occupation. He did not seek to boycott the settlers. All he wanted, like a gentleman trying to avoid a headache, was quietly to absent himself from a Haifa Theater play. But Minister Regev has no room for people with a conscience.

In contrast, and this is welcome, she decided that there is no place for the disgusting habit of going with the occupation that embitters the lives of our neighbors and at the same time feeling moral, without lifting a finger.

The choice is a cruel one: Either go with the occupation with every bone in your body, or go against it just as strongly. Thank you, minister, for presenting the good Israelis with the most moral question on the agenda.

Meanwhile, some people tell me that they are beginning to miss the previous culture and sports minister, Limor Livnat, She, at least, left the children out of it. According to the trend here, next time around we’ll miss Miri Regev.

But Regev’s conduct is a small matter in our environment so rutted with pitfalls. This is so serious that you have to be careful what you say because it’s a matter of life and death. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon tells us at the Herzliya Conference: “I don’t see a stable peace agreement in my lifetime.” It is hard to know how to respond to such a statement. If you wish Minister Ya’alon a long life, there goes peace, and if you wish for peace to come soon, in our time, there goes Ya’alon. And you’ll be accused, even if you’re Jewish, of anti-Semitism.

Actor Norman Issa, now feeling the wrath of nationalistic Israel.Credit: Gali Eytan

Well, according to Minister Ya’alon, our fates have gone their separate ways; peace and Israel do not go together. Of course, it’s the fault of the non-Jews. Meanwhile, I stand helpless. I do not know what to do. The whole world is discussing the boycott of the settlements, but I can’t express my opinion on the matter. All I have to do is bring it up with close friends and right away they scold me for my meager faith in democracy here. You can, in fact, express your opinion about the boycott, they told me: You can denounce it and call the boycotters anti-Semites.

When I asked them again what I should do, because after all, I actually support the boycott on the settlements, they told me that this is a matter of them “rising up to destroy us,” and as we know, pikuah nefesh, the commandment to save lives, trumps democracy.

Then suddenly I thought to ask them: And if I announce that I’m pleased with the increased calls for the boycott of the settlements? That’s not forbidden, my good friends answered, adding in the same breath – for the time being.

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