Officials Call to Boycott President’s Event ‘Silencing’ Singer

November 26, 2014  

Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) on Wednesday called on singer Kobi Oz to boycott an event at the President’s Residence, after President Reuven Rivlin decided to disinvite singer Amir Benayoun over a song critical of Arab Israeli terrorists.

Urging Oz not to take part in a ceremony of “silencing,” Ben-Dahan said “don’t give a hand to harming creative freedom in Israel. Better that the ceremony be without songs as an appropriate act for the silencing.”

Rivlin cancelled Benayoun’s performance at the event marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran next Sunday over his new song, entitled “Ahmed Loves Israel.”

The song responds to the recent wave of terrorism in which Arab terrorists in several high profile attacks have used their position of employment to murder Jews. It also comes on the heels of a survey which found a full 29% of Arab citizens of Israel hold the state to “blame” for the recent terrorism, indicating a tacit support for terrorism among one out of three Israeli Arabs.

Ben-Dahan on Tuesday launched a protest on Facebook in which he posted a picture of himself with a sign reading “enough silencing” – a protest that has already been joined by hundreds of people.

The cancellation also raised an outcry from MK Miri Regev (Likud), who said “without taking a position on Amir Benayoun’s song, it seems to me that the decision of President Rivlin, whom I appreciate and cherish, to prevent a singer from singing songs that are disputed, is unsatisfactory and disappointing.”

Minister for Senior Citizens Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) announced he would not attend the event, saying “punishing artists due to their opinions is an impermissible act, so unfortunately I cannot attend. If Benayoun isn’t singing, I won’t speak.” 

Benayoun on Facebook responded to Rivlin’s cancellation of the performance on Tuesday, saying, “on the matter of the announcement published by the President’s Residence, which as anticipated by its drafters added oil to the broiling bonfire of your loyal servants in the media, I’d like to say that I respect the presidential institute and love president Rivlin with true love, and am happy that he is the person in the President’s Residence at this time.”

Ironically, the storm over Benayoun’s song – which was a sardonic commentary on the phenomenon of apparently “normal” Arab citizens or residents of Israel murdering Jews – come as a court revealed that Jewish construction worker Netanel Arami was murdered by his Arab colleagues for “nationalistic reasons.”

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