The Israeli culture ministry has launched a film commission which will be responsible for regulating all cinema activities in the country once the long-gestating Cinema Law has been passed.
Film professionals are not allowed to run the commission under Israeli law, due to potential conflicts of interest, leading to cries of protest in the local film industry. The commission's chairman, Eli Zohar, is a respected lawyer who has sat on various public boards but has little contact with the cinema industry. Other commission members come from the worlds of literature, philosophy and journalism, among others.
Also creating controversy is the commission's budget which at $5.6m has been set at less than half the initial recommendation of $15m. It is also not known when the funds will be available. Several Israeli funding organisations such as the Israeli Film Fund are currently spoon-fed with advances on its future budget, the exact size of which is still to be determined.
The new commission's authority is widespread covering film funds and festivals, cinemas, archives and film schools. However the culture ministry will have final say on the division of budgets, with the film commission acting only as an advisory board.