Can Rivlin and Singer Amir Benayoun Reconcile?

Rabbi Benny Lau reveals he is trying to make a bridge between president and singer after cancellation over song on Israeli Arab terrorists.

Hezki Baruch, Ari Yashar,

Amir Benayoun
Amir Benayoun
Mendy Hechtman/Flash 90

Is the rift between President Reuven Rivlin and singer Amir Benayoun over his recent song against Arab Israelis who commit terrorist attacks, which Rivlin responded to by disinviting him from an official performance, irreparable? 

Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau, a high-profile religious-Zionist figure, revealed he is trying to bridge that rift while speaking with his brother Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau on Thursday night, at the "String Bridge" conference held by the Besheva newspaper in the Kinar Hotel on Lake Kinneret.

"For several days I've been making phone calls between Amir Benayoun and the President's Residence, I've taken on myself to be a bridge between these beloved people," said Rabbi Benny Lau, to which his brother noted Benayoun is his neighbor.

Rabbi Benny Lau turned to the audience and continued "you need to know, I tell the public that the president really likes Amir Benayoun, and Amir Benayoun really likes the president."

"I'm making efforts, because it's part of our role to create shalom babayit (domestic harmony), and I have to say it still hasn't succeeded, I have to tell the truth, it still hasn't, it's hard," said the rabbi. "It's hard for people to leave a place they've built, even if it isn't a comfortable place."

The flap between the two came when Rivlin cancelled Benayoun's appearance at an official event marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran last Sunday, over Benayoun's song "Ahmed Loves Israel," which protested the recently spiking phenomenon of Arab citizens or residents of Israel using their positions of employment to plan and conduct terror attacks.

The song also came on the heels of a survey which found a full 29% of Arab citizens of Israel hold the state to "blame" for the recent terrorism, indicating a tacit support for terrorism among one out of three Israeli Arabs.

Rivlin's decision to cancel sparked an angry response, with many calling to boycott the event over Rivlin's "silencing" of Benayoun.