Film on Lod’s Arab Community Wins at Berlin Festival

The musical drama Junction 48, a film by the Israeli director Udi Aloni, has won the 18th Panorama Audience Award, the top prize of the Berlin Film Festival voted on by ordinary moviegoers. Junction 48 tells the story of an Arab-Palestinian rap star and his girlfriend who live near Tel Aviv in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod, known until recently as one of the main drug-running centers of country.


On Sunday, February 21, Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister, Miri Regev (Likud), assailed director Aloni for calling the government “fascist” at the awards ceremony in Berlin. Regev wrote on her Facebook page that Aloni’s remarks were “ultimate proof” of why Israel ought to slash its subsidies to artists who criticize the country.

In remarks broadcast by Channel 10 after accepting the award for Junction 48, Aloni told reporters he thought Germany should not supply Israel with submarines because of its fascist government. He also accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of spreading hatred.

The far-right minister Regev has advocated cutting funds to Israeli theater groups and individual artists who criticize the government’s policies and Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. Last month, Regev proposed legislation that would enhance the authority of the ministry which she heads and allow it to make funding for institutions conditional on their allegiance to the state and their respect for its symbols.