Ehud Banai has been declared persona non grata on taxpayer-funded IDF Radio by Yuval Ben-Ami, who hosts an overnight program on the station once a week. Ben-Ami said that he had informed his producer that they are not to book Banai or play his songs on the show – because of a recent show he played at Susia, near Hevron.
Ehud Banai, whose parents and brothers are members of a prolific Israeli musical family, has had many “top 40” hits in the past. In recent years he has become more religious, and a champion of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. Many of his recent concerts have been in communities in Judea and Samaria.
As such, he is a part of Israel's musical “mainstream,” Ben-Ami wrote on his Facebook page – and for his “sin” of rejecting the leftist ethos of Israel's entertainment milieu, Banai is banned from his show. Worst of all, however, is the fact that Banai is not a political person. “People like him accept the sick status quo as normal, and this bothers me a great deal,” he wrote. By performing in places like Susia as if it were a “normal” show, Banai was making a statement about Israel's presence in the area – that it was an acceptable phenomenon. It might be acceptable to Banai, he said, but not to him.
But Ben-Ami has no problem playing the music of another artist who has moved to the right in recent years. Ariel Zilber, wrote Ben-Ami, “is not part of the 'entertainment mainstream,'” having moved out of it by becoming a political activist on behalf of Judea and Samaria. “People like him have clearly fallen on their heads and ruined half their brains,” he wrote. “We can still embrace the other half.” The fact that he was clearly on the “other side,” and made no bones about being part of “normal Israel,” made him acceptable, Ben-Ami wrote.
IDF Radio had no comment on the Facebook posting.