Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, has been caught in the middle of a storm over the past year – and was undeterred by accusations and critiques. In a special Channel 2 News project, the Israeli public was asked what they thought about her performance in her role. The minister promised: ‘Next year will not be boring either – and whoever prevents that will not receive a budget’.

One year since the government's swearing in

One year since the government’s swearing in Channel 2 News

 On May 14, 2015, two months following the tumultuous elections, the fourth Netanyahu government was sworn in. The very same government set several ambitious goals for itself even though it was relying on a 61 Knesset member coalition alone (at least until now). In addition, the government went through a number of tests and challenges, from the wave of terror to significant economic changes and to layoff threats. How do the prominent ministers summarize the year? Did they complete the goals that they set for themselves? What does the Israeli public think of them?

Miri Regev’s appointment as Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport awakened a storm after the elections and many artists criticized her intentions and even insulted her. From her first days in her new role, Regev declared that she would work on the country’s harmful policies which deny funding to artists, that she would increase investments in the periphery’s culture, and received widespread support among the Israeli public.

Furthermore, several artists expressed their support of the minister and hoped that she would increase the ministry’s budget. Over the past 12 months in which Regev has filled the role of Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport, the controversy and praises surrounding her activities have not faded: Especially one of her controversial public statements, in which she called for the cultural institution directors to “cut the bull!”

The R2I agency conducted a survey for Channel 2 News, in which a sample representative of Israel’s Jewish population (500 Hebrew-speaking Jewish men and women aged 18 and up) was asked what their stance is today about Regev’s actions. According to R2I’s data, the average score that Regev received in the internet survey was 2.9 out of 5. 33% ranked her highly, whereas 34% expressed disappointment in how Regev fulfilled her duties.

In addition to the previous survey results, Channel 2 News checked what internet users thought and wrote about Regev. Buzzilla, an Israeli company specializing in the analysis and research of online social discourse, sampled internet users’ comments on different platforms – news sites, forums, blogs, social networking sites, and more – and found out what the public thinks of Regev.

According to Buzzilla’s data, there was a slight change in favor of Regev – 46% today in comparison to 41% when the government was sworn in, and the objection against her was slightly weakened from 36% to 31%. “She successfully created a lot of discourse in a ministry that is usually considered marginal,” noted Meirav Bornstein, Buzzilla’s Strategy and Research Vice President.

“This was a challenging year – a year in which we made a revolution and in which they [Israel] understood that culture and sport are basic rights for every citizen in the country, a year in which they understood that culture and sport are tools for social change and reducing [social] gaps,” Regev said in a filmed message sent to Channel 2 News Online. Regev noted the added funding for the periphery and for artists of different cultures: “The periphery deserves more and it also needs to express its abilities because there are amazing artists and creators there. We are all one society. One genre cannot lead.” The minister also emphasized the additional events in the periphery and in underprivileged neighborhoods: “They are not second class citizens.”

“There is no incitement against the state: whoever is unfaithful will not receive a budget and it needs to be said clearly and decisively. And there are no exclusions, period – Judea and Samaria, the Jordan Valley, Arabs, Haredis, all citizens are equal in this country.”