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November 10, 2022 4:27 pm

‘First-of-Its-Kind’ Arab Theater to Open in Umm Al-Fahm With Israeli Gov’t Funding

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

The Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A “first-of-its-kind” Arabic-language theater will be established in the Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, the Ministry of Culture and Sport announced Thursday.

The government will allocate NIS 8 million ($2.3 million) in funding for the professional repertory theater, in which a resident company of actors are prepared to regularly present a number of pre-set plays, often on a rotating basis, rather than a single performance.

The funds were secured through a five-year economic development plan approved by the Israeli government in October 2021 to help bridge gaps between Arab and Jewish citizens. Named “taqadum,” which means “advancement” in Arabic, the plan will invest some NIS 30 billion (currently some $8.6 billion) into the Arab sector in a range of areas, including housing, education, transportation, employment, health, and culture.

The funding will help kickstart the theater and keep it afloat for the first five years, until it is capable of operating independently. The city won the bid to establish the theater after presenting “a good professional plan, an excellent artistic director, and a thorough budget,” the ministry said.

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Alongside the theater’s establishment, the ministry said it is seeking to solve issues affecting the infrastructure utilized for cultural activities in the Arab sector, “and to remove barriers facing cultural bodies in Arab society, in order to allow the expansion of activity.”

Chen Dahan, the ministry’s deputy director general, said the repertory theater in Umm al-Fahm will be “the first cultural anchor to be implemented” of a greater list that would soon be announced, including a museum, cinematheque, theater school, galleries, and musical establishments.

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