The far-right Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, has instructed Israel’s embassy in France to boycott the opening ceremony of the Israeli Film Festival in Paris in March, after organizers refused Jerusalem’s requests not to screen the film Foxtrot.
Foxtrot centers on parents’ grief for their fallen son, and includes a scene in which Israeli soldiers cover up the murder of four Arab-Palestinians youths. Regev, who has admitted never having seen the film, has repeatedly lambasted it, saying it “shows Israeli army soldiers in a distorted manner as murderers and harms the good name of the Israel Defense Forces.” Last year, Foxtrot won the Ophir award, Israel’s top film prize. It was also among the movies nominated for the best foreign-language film at the Oscar awards.
Haaretz has reported that Israel’s Ambassador to France, Aliza Ben-Nun, asked the festival organizers to select a different film for the festival’s opening night, saying that Foxtrot “hurts the feelings of some in the Jewish community,” but was rebuffed.
The Foreign Ministry is a sponsor of the festival, and had already transferred the allocated funds to the festival before the opening night film was selected.
The French press has reported that Regev has been pressuring the Foreign Ministry to withdraw its support for the March festival altogether.