MKs demand Knesset drops honor for singer who faced underage sex allegations

MKs demand Knesset drops honor for singer who faced underage sex allegations

Lawmakers say award for Eyal Golan ‘spits in the faces of victims of sexual violence,’ ask Edelstein to intervene

Singer Eyal Golan performing at an Independence Day concert in Beit Shemesh on May 5, 2014. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)
Singer Eyal Golan performing at an Independence Day concert in Beit Shemesh on May 5, 2014. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)

Five lawmakers have demanded that singer Eyal Golan be dropped from a list of artists to be honored by the Knesset next week, on the grounds that he was investigated for sex offenses against minors in a case that was ultimately dropped, Hadashot TV reported.

After invitations to the ceremony were issued, lawmakers Tamar Zandberg, Mossi Raz and Michal Rozin of the Meretz party, Mickey Rosenthal of the Zionist Union faction and Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint (Arab) List, wrote to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelsein asking him to rescind Golan’s award.

The five lawmakers told Edelstein that the award was particularly galling, coming at a time when attempts are being made to raise awareness of violence towards women.

“The recognition of the man as an esteemed artist spits in the faces of victims of sexual violence and it symbolizes that the Israeli parliament unequivocally prefers the attackers,” they wrote.

(Left to right): Lawmakers Zouheir Bahloul and Aida Touma-Sliman, of the Joint (Arab) List; Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), and Dov Kheinin of the Joint (Arab) List listen to presentations at the Knesset on July 2, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

On Tuesday, thousands of women went on strike and tens of thousands rallied across the country to protest the deaths of 24 women killed since the start of the year by a partner, family member, or someone known to them, and what they say is the authorities’ failure to stem a sharp increase in violence against women.

MK Nava Boker of the Likud party, who led the Knesset’s lobbying committee to vote for Golan, implied the lawmakers’ actions were hypocritical and compared the dropped case against Golan to police recommendations of charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“It’s interesting that when the police recommend a prime minister be brought to trial, then it’s excellent for them to decide his fate. But when it comes to the same police that closed the case against Eyal Golan and dismissed the suspicions against him, it’s not right,” Boker said.

Women in Jerusalem’s Safra Square protest violence against women, December 4, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Associates of Golan on Thursday told Hadashot the singer was infuriated by the letter from the five lawmakers, and hinted that the objections stemmed from the fact that Boker is a member of the ruling coalition.

“Maybe for once, grow up! There are things that are above coalition-opposition,” they said.

Edelstein responded to the storm, saying in a statement that he “has no authority to intervene in the events of the lobby, and in any case he has no connection to the decision.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein in the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 5, 2014 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Golan was interrogated by the police in 2014 on suspicion that he engaged in sexual encounters with underage girls.

The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office later announced it would drop the charges due to lack of evidence.

Golan denied the allegations.

The singer was found guilty in 2014 of evading taxes and falsifying billing on income of NIS 2.6 million ($750,000). He had to pay a fine of NIS 75,000 ($20,000) and did four months of community service at an old-age home in Rishon Lezion.

In 2015, Golan’s father was sentenced to two years in jail after being convicted of procuring minors for purposes of prostitution, among other offenses. He was charged with using his son’s fame as a well-known performer to take advantage of the girls, knowing that they suffered socioeconomic hardship and had difficulties at home.

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