Israeli pop star Ivri Lider’s upcoming performance at a West Bank settlement has reportedly been met with opposition from local families who claim that hosting the openly gay artist would amount to blasphemy.
Some residents of the mostly religious community of Elkana last week protested Lider’s scheduled Sukkot show because he was an “avowed pervert,” the Walla news website reported Sunday.
Several posters advertising the performance around the settlement have been vandalized or graffitied with the word “blasphemous.”
Lider is slated to perform in Elkana during the Sukkot holiday next month, as part of the annual Panim el Panim (face to face) festival that aims to promote Jewish unity in Israel.
An email sent by an unnamed couple to all Elkana residents last week said: “How can a religious settlement like Elkana invite an avowed pervert [according to our holy Torah] to appear in our community?
— וואלה! NEWS (@WallaNews) September 18, 2016
It’s not a way to educate our children and is certainly impossible to turn a blind eye to this kind of phenomenon in our community,” the message said.
They demanded Lider be dropped from the festival lineup, saying “it’s not too late to admit that such a grave mistake has been made and fix it.”
But Elkana council head Asaf Minzer dismissed the petition to have Lider booted from the festival, saying the singer’s personal life was “none of our business and is irrelevant” to the festival.
Minzer said the lineup for the music festival would not be changed, and emphasized that protesting Lider’s appearance was not in keeping with the spirit of the Sukkot holiday or the festival that aims to promote Jewish unity.
“All of the performers were chosen based on musical considerations only. Any other details about them are none of our business and are irrelevant,” he said.
In response to the report, Lider said Sunday evening that while being called a “pervert” by some Elkana residents was hurtful, he would not cancel his performance at the festival.
“I also read on Walla that I was called an ‘avowed pervert,'” he wrote in a Facebook post. “I would just like to say that it didn’t hurt me at all, but that’s completely not true.”
“It’s still bizarre and astonishing to hear people who dislike anything that is different to them,” he wrote.
“I’m sure that most of Elkana’s residents are tolerant, music-loving people who are looking forward to the show just as much as I am, and for them, I will come and play with joy,” Lider said.