While initially condemning the remarks made by actor Oded Kotler against Culture Minister Miri Regev, opposition chairman Yitzhak Herzog asserted Monday that Regev's language was just as damaging.
Kotler, one of Israel's best known actors, mocked Regev at an artists' rally held on Sunday night to protest the new government's policy that no funding would go to artists who boycott the state.
“Imagine your world, Mrs. Regev,” he said, “as a quiet world, with no book, no music, no poem, a world with no one to disturb… no one to disturb the nation, in its celebration of 30 mandates, followed by a marching herd of beasts chewing straw and stubble.”
Herzog quickly denounced Kotler's comments, saying "Kotler's words, the words that came out of [Yair] Garbuz’s mouth and the applause that followed from the audience, there is nothing between these behaviors and culture and human love or pluralism.”
“Even artists and intellectuals need to know that during a difficult and justified debate, one should choose to treat people who think differently with dignity. Even when their opinion drives one crazy.”
However, at a Zionist Union faction meeting on Monday, Herzog turned his criticism to Regev, blasting her rhetoric, which he asserted, threatens and terrifies artists.
"There is no difference between Kotler's unnecessary statements and Regev's dangerous threats against arts and culture," Herzog charged.
"Miri Regev is the Minister of Culture and she must not continue to use the tools she learned when she served as Chief Censor."
"There is no reason that in a democratic country any artist or creator should be financially threatened or their works punished because of their opinions," Herzog concluded.