How to listen to the vacuum cleaner museum noise
On Tuesday, the Museum of Fine Arts announced that it would be shut down on October 14, following the passing of a controversial law in Israel which bans the sale and use of any vacuum cleaner from the second week of November to the first week of January, 2017.
The law, which is still under review, was adopted in June, and was widely criticised for its discriminatory impact on the communities it affects.
In July, the museum’s director, Dr. Avigdor Lopatin, said that he would be “unable to continue his duties” and that the museum was “not an appropriate venue for such a decision”.
The decision came after a petition was launched on Change.org calling for the museum to remain open.
The petition has attracted more than 1,400 signatures, with many calling on the museum and its directors to reconsider the decision.
In a letter sent to the director, the petition’s organizers explained: “In light of the fact that the decision has the potential to harm our work, our mission and the preservation of the museum, and the fact of its potential to endanger the lives of those who visit the museum in its many forms, we ask you to reconsider.”
In addition to banning the sale of vacuum cleaners from the first Monday in November, the ban includes other forms of consumer goods from the week.
“The decision is a violation of our principles and values,” Lopatin said in a statement on Wednesday.
“In order to maintain our credibility in the community, we cannot allow this decision to be taken.”
The petition states that the ban violates the principle of equal treatment and freedom of expression and that it is an affront to the history of Israel.
The museum’s owners, a company called Bauhaus, said in the letter that the boycott is “unfair” and “will damage our reputation”.
The museum is located on the grounds of the historic Golan Heights, a former part of the Ottoman Empire that was part of Palestine.
“I do not agree with the decision,” Lutpinsky told Haaretz.
“It will harm the reputation of the Museum, the people who come to visit, and their business,” he said.
The decision was met with strong reactions on social media.
“A ban on the sale, purchase and consumption of vacuum cleaning is not a good thing.
I will boycott it,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“We have to respect the values of this city, and not to impose our values on others,” another added.
“How will they feel if they cannot enjoy their vacation or their meal at the Museum?” wrote another.
In the end, Lopin said that “it is my duty to uphold the values that this city has taught us, and I will continue to do so”.
“We can’t live with a vacuum cleaner ban that affects us, because it has no connection with us,” he added.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Lutpatinsky will continue his work at the museum as an associate director, while the museum will reopen for public use on October 15.