If there will be no last-minute change, in about two weeks for the very first time the sounds of Richard Wagner's music will play in the State of Israel.
The concert, scheduled for June 18 at Tel Aviv University, is to feature the works of a man whose very name is synonymous with Nazi Germany.
There has been a ban on the works of the composer since 1938 – a boycott that has held firm by Jews to this day.
Over the past 30 years, a number of attempts have been made to produce concerts of Wagner's works. But all have met with extreme opposition, and have provoked the ire of the general public, and in particular that of tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors.
The currently planned concert is to include an entire section of the composer's works – something no one has ever dared attempt.
But umbrella group The Center for Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel (COHS) this week sent an urgent letter to President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Minister of Education, asking them to block the event.
The organization described it as a desecration of the memory of the martyrs of the Holocaust, an “abuse of the feelings of the survivors and the wider Israel community.”
Wagner was deeply admired by Adolf Hitler, who proclaimed the composer as “my religion,” partly as the result of an essay the musician wrote in 1851 entitled “Judaism in Music” in which he condemned “cursed Jewish scum.”
The terms, the “Jewish problem” and the “final solution” allegedly also originated with Richard Wagner, who described Jewish composers as “comparable to worms feeding on the body of art.”