Israeli singer Ariel Zilber said on Tuesday that he had been invited by the heads of the housing protest in Tel Aviv to perform, but that the invitation had been cancelled.
Zilber told Arutz Sheva that he wasn’t surprised by the cancellation. While he is one of the pioneers of modern Israeli music and has had a long history as an artist, he has moved in recent years towards the right side of the political map. This has been met with much criticism, especially when in 2005 he moved to the Gush Katif community of Elei Sinai in order to express solidarity with the Jewish residents there prior to their expulsion from their homes by the Israeli government.
Zilber has also adopted a religious lifestyle, becoming a ba'al teshuva under the influence of Chabad. In a memorial earlier this year for the late Rabbi Binyamin Ze’ev Kahane and his wife Talya, Zilber said he supported the letter signed by hundreds of rabbis against the sale or rental of homes or land to non-Jews. These sayings caused the Israeli rock band Tislam to disinvite him from performing with them.
In light of all of the above, he said, the cancellation of his appearance at the tent camp in Tel Aviv came as no surprise.
“They asked me to appear there,” he said. “After all, I was a former member of the legendary rock band Tammuz. I realized right away it was political, and that everything is against Netanyahu. I did not like it. I told them that if I show up I’ll say good things about Bibi and [Housing Minister] Attias. After that I never heard back from them.”
Zilber said that he has no doubt that the entire housing protest is a leftist one.
“Attias is an excellent housing minister,” he said. “He’s trying to lower prices. You cannot get rid of him. Bibi too. There may be bad things about him but there are also good things. This is definitely a leftist protest.”
Zilber said he believes a housing problem does exist but said it should not be turned into a political struggle.
“The principle of this protest is absolutely correct so long as it deals with housing,” he said. “People really do have a hard time finding apartments. My daughter has to live in Jerusalem and she cannot find an apartment. But right now we have to unite the lines and not split them. As part of my musical activities I try to do anything possible to unite everyone.”