Singer Achinoam Nini, known for her outspoken support for a two-state solution and Arab-Jewish coexistence, said Wednesday, after Tel Aviv city council member Arnon Giladi sought to cancel an event honoring her, that he should mind his own business.
The celebratory evening taking place Wednesday marks 20 years for the Arava Institute, an environmental and academic program located in the desert, and honors the work of Nini, Miriam Sharton, Uri Shanas and Monther Hind, all supporters of the institute.
The event is being held at Tel Aviv’s historic Tzavta Theater, where Nini and others will perform.
Several days ago, Giladi, a Likud member of the Tel Aviv city council, formally asked the theater to cancel the event due to the singer’s left-leaning views, which he termed anti-Zionist values.
“How could it be that a singer like Nini,” wrote Giladi, “who speaks against the values of Zionism and the State of Israel, would receive an honor like this in the Tzavta auditorium. To my great dismay, Nini has succeeded in building herself a successful career by slandering the name of Israel around the world.”
Nini, known outside Israel as Noa, responded that Giladi was using the opportunity to win points with his constituency at her expense.
“I don’t think it’s any of his business,” Nini told The Times of Israel.
“Everything he’s saying is slanderous lies. He is collaborating with the worst kind of incitement happening in Israel. There are endless other people who do wonderful work in Israel and feel that Israel should be living in peace, and attacking that is anti-Zionist and very ugly.”
The Arava Institute, where Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian and other students from around the world study together, said that Nini was a symbol of freedom of expression and hope of peace between the nations.
Other participants in the evening are MK Tzipi Livni, MK Zehava Galon, actress Keren Mor, singer Shaanan Streett and several Palestinian officials.
For Nini, however, Giladi’s shenanigans represent the country’s overriding ideology, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“He’s the major inciter,” she said of the prime minister. “He gives the perfect example of incitement against anyone who is against him. It comes from the top and seeps through every part of society.”
The only positive side to the slander, said Nini, is that it draws attention to the event and the Arava Institute.
“It puts a spotlight on this fantastic institute,” she said.
Tickets are available at http://bit.ly/2sgShju