Meni Asayag (Photo: Reuven Castro, Reuven Castro)
A few months after being appointed as a member of the Film Council by Culture Minister Miki Zohar, screenwriter and satirist Manny Asayag announced his retirement on Tuesday. In a statement on his Facebook page, Asayag explained that the decision was made out of fear that he would be accused of a conflict of interest due to a film he co-wrote that is expected to be released soon.
In his post, Manny Asayag explained why he accepted the offer to serve on the council in the first place: "I am writing this here so that the minister will not convince me otherwise. The main reason I agreed to Minister Zohar's request to serve as a member of the Film Council was that this 'job' was voluntary. I never sought any role or compensation for my doing/activism for the just and right camp. Another reason was my desire to influence and prevent funding from foundations that support anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist films that slander our country and our dear soldiers in the world.
"Another reason was the disturbed anti-Semitism on the part of elements in the left-wing camp that spurred me to go for it. And this crazy anti-Semitism was actually against the appointment of someone with the most experience and resume in writing TV/film scripts of any member of the Council. When these guys are so opposed to something, then I guess it's something really good for the Jewish state."
Asayag went on to explain why he decided to retire: "So why did I decide to resign from the council anyway? Let's start with the fact that the impact on withholding funding from hostile films is smaller than I thought, and it's much more complex and complicated. Let's continue with the fact that I'm busy right now with the personal show I wrote. And the reason for the reasons: This summer, a film in the spirit of the '80s series, which I wrote together with Daniel and with the help of Or, my super talented nieces, will be released. This matter has already been examined and scanned repeatedly with the legal counsel, and there is nothing flawless or impediment to me serving as a member of the Film Council.
"Then some friendly journalists heard about the film, they already asked defiant questions to the ministry about it, and they also got very convincing answers. And I thought to myself, it's true that there is no prevention and everything is completely kosher, but these types who have already proven a lack of integrity and respect, are experts in tarnishing and blackening people and bodies, especially bodies like me and the minister, and it is enough for them to come up with one half-distorted headline as usual, and they are already inviting a tsunami of slander and slander. Then go have motivational conversations with Lampa."
"Tsunami of slander". Meni Asayag (Photo: Reuven Castro, Reuven Castro)
"I really care less about myself, but I won't do that to dear Minister Miki Zohar and his good name, whose only good goal was to diversify the Film Council a bit," Asayag added. "I'm not prepared for the fact that because of the esteem he has for me, he will be subjected to poisonous criticism and poison. He has many important tasks in culture and sports, such as the monstrous punishment imposed on Beitar Jerusalem, and it is a shame that he wasted his precious time explaining to the inattentive. So as I said, I am announcing my resignation from the Film Council! I will always continue to speak out against harmful and hostile artists, whose sole purpose is recognition and international awards at the expense of the good name of the Jewish state and its soldiers. Always!"
Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar said in response to Asayag's decision: "I was very sorry to hear about Meni Asayag's decision to resign from the Film Council because he is a worthy person and very suitable for the position. Manny has made a great contribution to the world of creativity and cinema and will continue to do so in the future due to his many years of experience and his professionalism in these fields. I will continue to work for a plurality of voices in the Film Council in order to express all parts of Israeli society."
More in Walla!
The device that revolutionizes wrinkle fighting - on sale
In association with B-Cure Laser
When Asayag was appointed to the Film Council, the Forum of Documentary Filmmakers filed an objection to the appointment. In its letter, the forum expressed concern that the appointment "may cause great damage to the freedom of expression and professionalism of the Israel Film Council. Such damage could ultimately lead to great damage to Israel's rich and diverse culture."
- Meni Asayag