Thousands of Palestinians and activists protested on Monday against the closing of three Israeli art galleries and a film festival, and an online petition calling for them to reopen.
In a speech before the crowds at the Ziyya Gallery in central Tel Aviv, an Israeli minister called on Israeli society to support Palestinians.
He warned that “the only way out of the crisis of Israel’s occupation is to support the artists, to support them financially.”
“The only way to guarantee that these institutions are not going to close is for the people of Israel to pay the price for this betrayal,” he said.
The Ziyyah gallery was one of the three art galleries closed by the Israeli government last month amid tensions between Israel and the Palestinians over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The closing of the gallery comes after a controversial decision to close the Al-Quds Art Museum, in the Westbank city of Hebron.
The Palestinian Authority said last month it was halting all exhibitions and events at the museum, which was due to open later this year.
The decision sparked outrage and protests by the Palestinian public, who accused the PA of discriminating against Palestinians.
The Israeli government, which has been criticised for its treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories, also said it would not reopen the Al Quds museum.
The closure of the Zishya gallery came as part of a broader crackdown on art and cultural institutions by Israel’s new government, the first such move since the country was established in 1948.
Since becoming the country’s first Jewish-majority government, it has been cracking down on religious and cultural establishments, which are often deemed to be harmful to Israel’s image.
In recent months, it announced a raft of restrictions on Palestinian media, while banning the teaching of the Quran in schools.