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Citing 'Dictatorship,' Israeli Artist Wants His Work Removed From the Knesset

Dani Karavan, who designed the wall that serves as the backdrop to those addressing parliament, says he has repeatedly asked that his art be removed until the Knesset reflects 'the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.'

Artist and sculptor Dani Karavan, who in 1966 designed the wall that constitutes the backdrop for speakers in the Knesset chamber in Jerusalem said on Wednesday that he has repeatedly asked that the wall be removed or covered until the Knesset, in his view, reflects the spirit of the country's Declaration of Independence.

"There have been several works that I made that were commissioned for public spaces and they belong to the sites, to their landscapes, to their environment, to their role," he told the Herzliya Conference, but he added: "[When it comes to] the wall in the Knesset, I sometimes am ashamed that I made it, and I have asked a number of times that it be moved, or covered with a tapestry, until the Knesset expresses the Declaration of Independence."

In the course of his remarks, delivered as part of a panel discussion on political art, Karavan made reference to a report on Wednesday that Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev is demanding that cultural institutions that receive government funding submit a declaration stating whether they have held performances in West Bank settlements, the Negev and the Galilee. The declaration requirement is an effort to implement the ministry's new policy of cutting financial support for institutions that do not perform in these areas.

"I read this morning in the newspaper that the Culture Minister is threatening anyone who doesn't appear in the settlements that they won't get funding. What is this if not a dictatorship?" he exclaimed.

Reacting to Karavan's remarks, another panelist, choreographer Ohad Naharin, cautioned against overreacting. "Miri Regev came and will go. The government came and will go, and that's not an opinion. It's a fact. Art is not dependent on money. We create without dependence on money. You need to remember that the government is not the one that makes it possible and will make it possible to be who we are and to create."

In April, Karavan sparked controversy for saying that he would design a monument in the Warsaw Ghetto to non-Jews in Poland who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Although Karavan has attracted some support among Jews for the project, there has also been vociferous opposition, particularly in light of a shift to the right in Polish politics. “If the Poles want to celebrate these people, as they should, they should do it on their territory, not in the ghetto,” Henryk Greenberg, a Polish Holocaust survivor and writer living in the United States, told the Forward. "They should do it not with an Israeli artist, but a Polish artist. Why do the Jews have to do it for them?”

Shany Littman

Haaretz Contributor

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.725248Schermata 2016 06 16 alle 16.19.25

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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