Israeli artist mock culture minister with life-size statue

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — An Israeli artist has placed a statue mocking Israel's controversial culture minister in one of Tel Aviv's major squares.

Itay Zalait set up his depiction of Miri Regev wearing a white gown and gazing into a full-length mirror early Thursday.

It comes as Regev, one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's closest allies, is pushing for legislation mandating "loyalty" in cultural works. Artists have lashed out at her practices as an attempt to censor artistic expression.

It's not the first time Zalait has taken to life-size art to express his protests. Two years ago, he erected a golden statue of Netanyahu to mock the idolatry of many Israelis toward him.

Tel Aviv City Hall said it respected the protest, but ordered the statue removed because it was placed without a permit.