On February 6, 2024, we sent legal correspondence (Hebrew) to the Haifa Municipality's legal advisor, demanding that she retract her intention to cancel a book launch event scheduled for Beit Hagefen on February 15, 2024. The book, a biographical novel, is largely based on the friendship story of two bereaved parents: Rami Elhanan, an Israeli resident of Jerusalem whose 13-year-old daughter was murdered in an attack in the city, and Bassem Aramin, a resident of the Occupied Territories whose 10-year-old daughter was killed by Israeli gunfire. Elhanan and Aramin were both executive directors of the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum.
Far-right groups sent harsh complaints to the mayor and demanded that she cancel the launch event, claiming the event is incitement by an extremist organization. In response, it was reported that the municipality's legal advisor was considering canceling the event, and that she had summoned the CEO of Beit Hagefen to a meeting at the municipality.
In our correspondence, Attorney Tal Hassin emphasized that the municipality and its officials have no authority to interfere in the artistic, cultural or theoretical content of events held in municipal cultural institutions or cultural institutions supported by it. The heads of cultural institutions are entitled to maximum independence in their professional-artistic judgment, and they are not subordinate to the mayor or any of its employees in making their decisions. We asked the municipality to retract its intention to cancel the event and cancel the summons of Beit Hagefen's CEO for a talk.