Israeli pop star Ivri Lider was scheduled to perform along with other artists for 10,000 Israeli soldiers, the defense minister and chief of staff at a Rishon Lezion IDF base on behalf of the Friends of the IDF. Two days before the event Lider’s performance was cancelled (Haaretz Hebrew version). Lider’s manager revealed that the IDF had asked Lider’s manager, (Lider had been drafted into the army but never served due to medical reasons), to sign a letter saying:
“I wish to note that Lider loves the IDF and respects its values. Ivri Lider will be happy to perform Sunday before IDF soldiers and the event will be considered as a day of reserve duty. In addition, he will be happy to serve the IDF and commits to appear before groups of soldiers in the period of the next two years…”
Lider, who has appeared at scores of IDF concerts, nonetheless refused to sign the agreement and was dropped from the program. Can someone tell me why a performer should have to sign a loyalty oath in order to perform before the IDF? Were they afraid Lider would embarrass the chief of staff by singing an anti-war song??
A Friend of IDF spokesperson seemed befuddled by the IDF’s decision:
We chose the performers to appear at this concert after seeking input from the soldiers themselves as to who they’d like to hear. Because Lider appeared before at IDF events and because he is heard on Galey Tzahal (the IDF radio station), we thought there would be no problem. To our sorrow, we received an announcement that the IDF chief educational officer refused to permit Ivry’s participation in the event.”
Ynetnews covers this story in English similarly but with an entirely different and bogus IDF response:
An IDF spokesperson said in response that the “IDF only allows artists who served in the army to perform in front of soldiers.”
That’s a bit hard to swallow considering Lider HAS performed before IDF gatherings many times. Were those invitations a mistake?
Amir Terkel, an Israeli peace activist who has served in the IDF, clued me in to this story with the following comment:
Who comes up with this stuff, this just sound like pure desperation to me.
Oh I know, must be the the same geniuses who sent bikini clad Israeli models to the front page of Maxim as “Israel’s women soldiers” in order to offer a “different image of Israel.”