Pop music duo Static and Ben-El announce split after seven years

Dogged by personal scandals, pair say they are going their separate ways, leaving the fate of their 10-year deal with Capital Records in question

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel

Israeli pop duo Static and Ben El Tavori perform in Safed on August 23, 2018. (David Cohen/FLASH90)
Israeli pop duo Static and Ben El Tavori perform in Safed on August 23, 2018. (David Cohen/FLASH90)

Popular Israeli musical duo Static and Ben-El announced on Thursday that they were splitting up after seven years of a successful partnership, amid a series of public scandals.

In a joint statement that the pair posted on their social media accounts amid mounting rumors of a split, they declared that the time had come to go their separate ways.

“We both decided that the time has come that each of us will go our own way,” wrote Static (real name Liraz Russo) and Ben-El Tavori, the estranged son of iconic Israeli singer Shimi Tavori.

“The incredible project called ‘Static and Ben-El’ has changed our lives forever,” they added. “From two kids with a dream to the band of the decade, with millions of [online] views, thousands of performances in Israel and abroad and truly a fulfilling endeavor and a dream that came true — all thanks to you.”

The pair wrote that the decision “was not an easy one, but it is not new either. We still love each other very much and of course we will support each other in everything.”

The musical duo, who in recent years have also been pursuing international fame, wrote that they “feel that we have reached the end of our musical project, and we each want to explore ourselves individually and bring you new music that breaks boundaries, just like we did seven years ago.”

In 2018, the pair signed a 10-year, $5 million record deal with Capitol Records, brokered by Israeli-American music mogul Haim Saban. Since then they released a series of songs in English with moderate success, including collaborations with popular artist Pitbull on the 2020 song “Further Up,” with the Black Eyed Peas later that year on “Shake Ya Boom Boom” and with Snoop Dogg on “Ziki Ziki” earlier this year.

Despite a local media blitz, the pair’s English-language songs failed to win chart success in the United States. The future of their deal with Capitol Records remains unclear in the wake of their split. A request for comment from the record label’s parent company was not immediately answered.

Pressure on the duo has intensified in recent weeks as their personal lives garnered increasing media focus. Static, who got married last year to his longtime girlfriend, Sarit, faced rumors of a cheating scandal and was subject to intense tabloid speculation that his marriage was ending. He denied all the rumors and also filed a lawsuit against Ron Nesher, a rapper they have been long feuding with, who released a song accusing him of such behavior.

And in recent weeks, Tavori, who has been engaged in a messy ongoing custody battle with his ex-girlfriend over their son Tav, 3, faced a slew of unflattering headlines over his behavior.

Last week, recordings of Tavori screaming at his ex, Ortal Amar, and threatening to cut off all contact with his son and — somewhat illogically — to incite him against her were publicized by the Israel Hayom newspaper.

“I don’t want to see him again in my life,” Tavori can be heard shouting in the recordings, among various profanities and threats against Amar.

Judges Static (L) and Ben El Tavori seen during the final of the reality show “Rising Star” in the Neve Ilan studio near Jerusalem. February 13, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Following the release of the recordings, the Strauss Group, which had a lengthy campaign with the duo to promote its Milky pudding product — including a sponsored song — announced it would not work with Tavori any more.

“We condemn violence of any kind,” Strauss said in a statement after the recordings became public. “We thank him for the cooperation and wish him luck in the future,” the company later added.

Cracks in the duo had been predicted for weeks, heightening after the pair canceled a live concert that had been slated for Thursday. In their breakup announcement, they promised to fulfill any already scheduled performances and commitments.

News of their split came just hours after several people were moderately injured at what could end up being their final public concert, in Eilat on Wednesday evening — in what some saw as an omen for the pair’s future.

Static and Ben-El were one of the most successful Israeli pop duos in years, producing songs that were often ubiquitous on local radio stations, including 2017’s “Tudo Bom,” 2016’s “Kvish Hahof,” and 2019’s “Yasso.”

The duo were seen as largely inseparable for years, appearing as a pair on musical reality TV shows as well as in advertising campaigns. They served on the judging panels of both “Hakochav Haba” (Rising Star) and “Masked Singer,” usually receiving one vote between them, demonstrating their status as a cemented duo.

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