The annual winners of the ACUM (Union of Composers, Writers and Publishers in Israeli Music) Awards have been announced, with religious singers taking the major categories.
The song of the year went to Yonatan Razel's "Katonti," album of the year was awarded to Eviatar Banai's "Beautiful as the Moon," whilst veteran musician Ariel Zilber was given a lifetime achievement award.
Razel's song was awarded the Moshe Vilenski Prize; the judges stated that "in his song and composition Yonatan Razel uses the Jewish sources, making the Jewish bookshelf more accessible and friendly to the Israeli society."
The song's lyrics are based on the Jewish Patriarch Ya'akov's (Jacob's) prayers before meeting with Esav (Esau), as recorded in Parshat Vayishlach of the book of Genesis in the Torah.
In the song are heard the lines "I am unworthy of all the kindness and faith that You have shown me. [When I left home,] I crossed the Jordan with [only] my staff, and now I have enough for two camps; Rescue me (Genesis 32:11-12)."
The song "was composed and recorded for Razel's album 'Between the Sounds,' after the recovery of his daughter who was injured several years ago," wrote the judges. They added that the song "touches the soul of everyone, expressing the spiritual victory over the fragility of life."
Zilber was recognized with the Naomi Shemer Prize for his "outstanding creativity," combining ethnic elements with new musical styles. "His songs are relevant and influence still today when they speak about artistic truth, faithfulness, honesty and great talent."
The awards will be given in a ceremony, planned to take place in the Gesher Theater in Yafo on February 3.
ACUM was founded 56 years ago as a non-profit corporation administering the rights assigned to it by its members: authors, composers, lyricists, poets, arrangers and music publishers.
The group notes that their award ceremony is the only one recognizing Israeli artists. In the last year 530 musicians joined ACUM, an organization that provides grants and funding to various musical projects.
Razel's "Katonti" can be seen here: