Daily Israel Report

Artist Who Criticized Tent Protests May be Fired

Margalit Tzan'ani said what she thinks about the Tel Aviv tent protests.Now she may be fired, if Facebook protestors have their way.
By David Lev
First Publish: 8/4/2011, 3:01 PM

Tent city housing protes city housing protest
Tent city housing protes city housing protest
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While singers, artists, actors, and all manner of popular culture figures have been taking advantage of the Rothschild Boulevard tent city to promote themselves – by playing free concerts, or getting a few minutes of airtime in the electronic media by providing protest-friendly soundbites – at least one artist may lose her job after she expressed her opinions on the protest. A new Facebook page advocates firing Margalit Tzan'ani – also know as Margol – from her judges' position in Israel's American-Idol style Kochav Nolad program, because she criticized the Rothschild tent-dwellers as “spoiled children.”

In an appearance on Army Radio earlier this week, Margol, whose parents were working-class immigrants from Yemen, said that some of the tent protesters, or at least their organizers, “want to live only in Tel Aviv. On the one hand,” she said, “my heart goes out to them, but on the other hand, these kind of people (north Tel Aviv yuppies) were the ones who made fun of me, of us. The people behind this revolution are not the farmers, not the people from Dimona and the periphery, these are the people from the heart of Tel Aviv. And they want to live only in Tel Aviv, some of them are definitely spoiled.

“Let them yell, let them act out,” Tzan'ani continued. “They laughed at us (the Yemenites who worked hard and struggled,) they didn't believe us. I do feel bad for someone who is 35 and does not have an apartment, but it seems to me that something is not so pure in such a story,” she added.

Almost immediately after her making the statement, Army Radio was inundated with phone calls criticizing her, and on Wednesday, she said on her own radio show that she was referring only to some of the protest organizers, backtracking off her earlier comments somewhat. But that apparently was not enough; by Thursday afternoon, the anti-Tzan'ani Facebook page had gotten about 2,500 likes, with the page calling for Keshet, the network that broadcasts Kochav Nolad, to fire her.

Members of the rock group Etnix said Thursday that they were canceling their appearance on a TV show Tzan'ani hosts on the Israeli music channel (24), saying that she had “taken advantage of her image as a celebrity, artist, and media personality to insult the legitimate struggle of a large section of the Israeli public to improve its position.”

In a television interview Wednesday night, Tzan'ani said she had been very upset over the issue, and that she had a right to think the way she wants. In response to the tumult, Keshet said that "although she is a much loved veteran judge on Kochav Nolad, Margol is first and foremost a person who has her own world view."