Education Minister Naftali Bennett was unmoved Wednesday by a group of artists and creators demanding he reverse his decision and keep Dr. Bilha Blum as chairwoman of the Culture Basket's theater committee.
The Jewish Home chairman chose not to extend Blum's tenure after learning the committee had approved, as part of the Culture Basket's theater repertoire, a play on the life of a convicted terrorist murderer.
Plays selected for the Culture Basket repertoire are seen by thousands of schoolchildren, on school-funded trips.
"Dear creators, you just don't get it, so I'll explain it clearly," Bennett wrote on his Facebook page. "The Culture Basket committee within the Education Ministry determines which plays/movies, etc, are seen by the children of Israel."
"When I took up office, I discovered the committee had decided to send students to the play ' A Parallel Time,' which portrays a terrorist who kidnapped, tortured and murdered an IDF soldier in a humanizing light."
According to Bennett, this was a dangerous, anti-educational action.
"I turned to the committee and requested they remove the play. I was told they did not know this play was about the same murderer. I doubted it, but I still gave them a chance to correct it. Mistakes happen."
Despite Bennett's request, the Culture Basket committee unanimously decided to leave the play in its repertoire. "So I myself pulled the play from the basket, and now the children of Israel don't see it," he added.
"I also decided not to extend the tenure of the committee's chairwoman, who demonstrated a deep lack of educational judgment. This is the reason. It's an educational reason, not a 'foreign' reason, because I am responsible for the education of Israel's children."
According to Bennett, the decision to replace Blum is final. "Artists, demonstrations and interviews won't change it. I will continue to exercise educational and moral judgement in the future, because this is why I was elected."