Mossawa Center Demands Cancellation of 15% Cut in Arab Culture Budget - مركز مساواة لحقوق المواطنين العرب في اسرائيل

Mossawa Center Demands Cancellation of 15% Cut in Arab Culture Budget

Mossawa Center Demands Cancellation of 15% Cut in Arab Culture Budget

The cuts will prevent the establishment of public libraries and the allocation of budgets for the establishment of the first Arab museum.

Mossawa Center demanded the cancellation of the deep cuts in the Arab culture budget by the government and the Ministry of Finance, following the government's recent decision to cut budgets that were originally allocated to close some gaps in Arab towns. The center emphasized that the Arab culture budget is already meager, and a 15% cut will harm cultural production and access to marginalized areas. In a letter to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Culture, Mossawa center pointed out that this step would indeed affect several vital areas such as theater, libraries, and art exhibitions, and on the opportunity for Arab children to be exposed to artistic and cultural production.

In a meeting between the Finance Minister, Smotrich, and Minister of Culture and Sports, Miki Zohar, it was agreed to reduce the ministry's budget by 5-8%, which included significant cuts in Arab cultural programs, especially public libraries. The five-year plan was supposed to include the establishment of public libraries during 2022-2023, but this was not implemented, and therefore, public libraries will not be established this year with a budget of 5 million shekels.

Moreover, significant gaps were noticed in the budget of the Arabic Language Academy, reflecting a disregard for the importance of this academy, which provides its linguistic services to educational and media institutions. 

Committed to advocating against all forms of discrimination and for equality for the Palestinian community in Israel,  Mossawa Center warned local authorities of failing to allocate budgets to support cultural projects for 2024. It reminded the authorities that these budgets were expected to be allocated for the establishment of museums, theaters, cinema halls, and schools for teaching theater arts in Arab towns.

It should be noted that Mossawa Center had petitioned the Supreme Court against the Ministry of Culture and Sports in 2012, demanding an increase in the budget to reach 20% of the total ministry's budget. Although the Supreme Court decided in September 2016 not to intervene in the budget distribution, the petition led to a significant increase in the budget over the years, reaching about 34.7 million shekels in 2018 and 40 million shekels in 2019, and it was supposed to continue increasing the budgets in the coming years.


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