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March 25, 2016 10:33 am

Israeli Deputy Minister Denounces Portrayal of Netanyahu Couple as Pigs in Haifa Art Exhibit

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. Photo: Facebook.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. Photo: Facebook.

JNS.org – Member of Knesset Yaron Mazuz (Likud), an Israeli deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, denounced an exhibit he visited Thursday at the Haifa Museum of Art that portrayed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, as pigs. Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev was portrayed as a mafia member, wearing gold chains and a shirt bearing a picture of herself.

The caricatures, on display within an exhibit of the works of Any Warhol, are the creations of artist Ido Shemi. Mazuz asked Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav to remove the exhibit immediately and summon the museum director for a hearing. In a letter to Yahav, Mazuz wrote, “Not only does this false portrayal not comprise an original, true, or beautiful exhibit as the museum claims, [but] we are talking about nothing less than a disgrace to freedom of expression….Even art has to have certain boundaries.”

“Creations like these, if they can be called creations, are responsible for [Israel’s] negative image in the world,” added Mazuz. “If we express ourselves this way about our public officials without any bearing in reality, we mustn’t be surprised when media outlets in other countries present us in a negative light.”

Shemi defended his work on Facebook, posting, “In this artwork, I respond to things that are happening in Israel and in my opinion, lead to funny, interesting results. The artwork was created in the spirit of pop art and they should be treated as such. They are simple, funny, works of art. There is no political criticism of one side or another. Figures from the right and the left are pictured in the exhibit.”

(Exclusive from Israel Hayom.)

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  • From one of the public of the USA, I think this Shemi dude is a selfish idiot and a disgrace. Such is not funny or art. Put his own wife in a picture like that and see what happens. Make his own kids or parents as such and see what reality they show him back. He should be ashamed.

  • sidney sands

    If Shemi is portrayed with a Hitler mustaich and haircut no doubt he would still think it art and funny

  • duPont

    I disagree with Mazuz. I regard Netanyahu as a hero and have the greatest respect and admiration for him, but in a real democracy, one’s thoughts and ideas are free to be expressed. I certainly do not regard showing my hero as a pig as a lovely piece of art, but it is the expression of the artist and in a “free speech” society has the right to be displayed. The Deputy Minister must surely realize that his freedom to express his distaste for Shemi’s work is absolute, but so is Shemi’s right to say/display it.

  • howiej

    Let the artist portray one of the Arab members of the Kenesset as a pig and see how it flies?

  • stevenl

    He should be punished for insulting those who represent the country. Shemi should look into a mirror and will see a black hole!

  • Rita Crespi

    Fine, you think your work is cute and funny…..make a picture of your mother sleeping with a Hamas leader. I think that would be funny! Even freedom of speech has boundaries. At a time when the world is in turmoil, respect should be first and foremost!

  • We should also be asking ourselves why we have a negative image of pigs. The use in any way of animal pejoratives reflects a lack of respect for all life.

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