German pro-Israel charity irked at singing settler children

Organizers of fundraiser for Sheba Medical Center protest choir members who live over Green Line

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The Kinderlach boys choir.  (screen capture: YouTube/KinderlachOfficial)
The Kinderlach boys choir. (screen capture: YouTube/KinderlachOfficial)

German organizers of a fund-raiser for an Israeli hospital took issue with the performance of an Israeli children’s choir because some of its members live in settlements, and asked the youths to keep quiet about where their homes are located.

German Friends of Sheba invited Kinderlach, a religious all-boys choir, to perform at its annual charity dinner, Channel 2 reported on Monday.

German First Lady Eva Luise Koehler, who is also Honorary President of Sheba Friends in Germany, hosted the occasion at the President’s residence, the Schloss Bellevue.

In the run-up to the dinner, which took place at the beginning of the month, the choir was asked to provide information about its members as part of the security preparations.

A few days later German organizers contacted the Israeli coordinators and explained that there was a problem because some of the children were from West Bank settlements.

Planners considered various options including leaving the problematic singers at home, or canceling the performance altogether.

In the end it was agreed that the show would go ahead as planned, with a tacit agreement that no questions would be asked about where the children were living and that the singers, for their part, wouldn’t volunteer any such information.

The Kinderlach choir explained that it performs all over Israel as well as many locations abroad, while always trying to shy away from politics.

“We try as much as possible to stay away from political matters,” the troupe told Channel 2 in a statement. “The Friends of Sheba Hospital group told us that there is a certain problem with two of the children. In the end it was decided that the matter will not be brought up and the children will appear, no questions asked.”

The statement went on to praise the Friends of Sheba group for the manner in which it organized the event.

The German embassy in Israel declined to respond to questions about the incident, Channel 2 reported.

Sheba Hospital said in a statement that it was not aware of any issue or conditions concerning the performance and noted that vital funds were raised for the medical center.

Europe has long opposed much of Israel’s policy on settlements in the West Bank and building for Jews in East Jerusalem.

In July 2013 the EU published a directive barring its 28 members from all cooperation with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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